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Summary

The experiment examines the lift and drag forces exerted on an


airfoil at variable angles of attack and fluid velocities utilizing a wind
tunnel. This experiment uses two load cells in combination with a
parallel four-bar linkage to linearly transfer the vertical lift force and
horizontal drag force to the two load cells respectively.

EXPERIMENTAL
DESIGN:
MEASURING LIFT AND DRAG FORCES ON AN
AIRFOIL

Seth Ferrara, 11444366

Experimental Design, ME 406


Table of Contents

Summary..................................................................................................................1

Introduction..............................................................................................................4

Theoretical Background...........................................................................................5

Design, Implementation, and Conduction of Experiment.......................................8

1.1 Procedure Outline......................................................................................9

Experimental Results.............................................................................................11

Analysis of Data....................................................................................................12

Conclusion.............................................................................................................13

References..............................................................................................................14

Appendix A: Data.................................................................................................15

Appendix B: Arduino Code....................................................................................1


YFigure 1: Test Apparatus.......................................................................................4

Figure 2: Airfoil......................................................................................................5

Figure 3: Experiment Parts.....................................................................................8

Figure 4: Volt Meter for the Pitot Tube.................................................................10

Figure 5: Transducer for the Pitot Tube................................................................10

Figure 6: Coefficient of Lift vs. Angle of Attack....................................................1

Table 1: Lift Force (N)..........................................................................................11

Table 2: Coefficient of Lift...................................................................................11

Table 3: Drag Force (N)........................................................................................11

Table 4: Coefficient of Drag.................................................................................11

Table 5: Fluid Velocity..........................................................................................15

Table 6: Density and Area.....................................................................................15

Table 7: Airfoil Area.............................................................................................15

Table 8: Fluid Velocity vs. Coefficient of Lift......................................................16

Equation 1: Total Drag Force..................................................................................6

Equation 2: Friction Drag Force.............................................................................6

Equation 3: Pressure Drag Force............................................................................6

Equation 4: Coefficient of Drag..............................................................................6

Equation 5: Coefficient of Lift................................................................................7


Introduction
There are two main forces that act on airfoil structures, the lift
force acting perpendicular to the fluid flow and the drag force acting
parallel to the fluid flow. In aerodynamics, these two forces are studied
a great deal so that there is a strong understanding of how they affect
an airfoil. Knowing how these forces interact with solid bodies in a fluid
field is necessary for their design and application.

In this experiment, the lift and drag forces acting on an airfoil


that is placed in a fluid flow at the end of a wind tunnel. The fluid
velocity and angle of attack of the airfoil are changed which will allow
the changes of the lift and drag forces to be observed. The apparatus
used in this experiment is shown in figure 1.

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Pitot tube Airfoil

Test Apparatus

Airfoil

Figure 1: Test Apparatus

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Theoretical Background
There are various times that fluid flow over solid bodies occurs in
practice, and it is responsible for numerous physical phenomena,
including drag and lift forces that act upon an airfoil. In order for
engineers to better understand these forces wind tunnels were created
for simulation. In 1871, the first wind tunnel was designed by Francis
H. Wenham and built by John Browning of the Aeronautical Society of
Great Britain at the Penns Marine Engineering Works at Greenwich,
England. The wind tunnel was 12 feet long and an 18-inch square and
utilized a steam-powered fan to drive the air through the duct to the
test section where the model airfoil would be placed. Since this first
experiment wind tunnels have been used in multiple industries to
simulate fluids flowing over solid bodies in order to gain a stronger
understanding of fluid principles at work. When an airfoil is placed in
the test section the relationships between various parameters can be
determined. The main parameters of concern for an airfoil are fluid
velocity, airfoil shape, and angle of attack (figure 2). In the
aeronautical industry wind tunnels are utilized to study the two main
forces acting on airfoils, lift and drag. Drag is the component of
aerodynamic force parallel to the relative wind velocity while lift is the
vertical component of aerodynamic force relative to wind velocity.

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Figure 2: Airfoil
The total drag force is the result of friction along the surface of
the airfoil and pressure difference between the leading and trailing
regions around the airfoil.

Equation 1: Total Drag Force

Dtotal=D f +D p

The equation that shows the friction component of the drag force
and the pressure component are as follows,

Equation 2: Friction Drag Force

Df =Dturb, LDturb, x +Dlam ,x


cr cr

where Dturb, L is the drag force induced over the total length due

to turbulent boundary layer, Dturb, x cr


is the drag force induced by the

turbulent boundary layer up to the critical point, Dlam, x cr


is the drag

force induced by the laminar boundary layer up to the critical point,


and xcr is the transition point from laminar to turbulent flow.

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Equation 3: Pressure Drag Force

V 2
D p=C d A
2

where Cd is the coefficient of pressure drag, V is the freestream


velocity, is the density of the fluid, and A is the cross sectional area
perpendicular to the flow.

Since it is difficult to determine the pressure or frictional drag


coefficients individually the total drag coefficient is determined
experimentally with the following equation,

Equation 4: Coefficient of Drag

Dtotal
C d ,total =
1 2
V A
2

where A is the characteristic area and D is the total measured


drag.

The coefficient of drag is a dimensionless number which is a


function of angle of attack, Mach number and Reynolds number.
Because of this there are multiple factors that can affect the drag force
on an airfoil. These factors include density, viscosity, fluid velocity, the
angle of attack, characteristic geometry, and speed of sound. In the
case of lower angles of attack the coefficient of drag is CD = 0.04 since
the air is streamlined around the airfoil. The drag coefficient will then
increase as the angle of attack increases and will eventually cause flow
separation near the trailing side of the airfoil. This separated flow will
produce a larger pressure drop which greatly increases the drag force
acting on the airfoil. For most airfoil designs this flow separation will
cause a stall condition when the angle of attack reaches approximately
15 degrees which will decrease the lift force.

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The lift force is the force perpendicular to the flow direction, and
is the force which enables airplanes to fly. This force results from
viscous and pressure forces and like drag has the same factors which
affect its value. However, with airfoils the effects from the viscosity
are usually negligible since airfoils are streamed lined bodies, this will
leave only the pressure as the main force acting on the airfoil. When
there is a pressure difference between the top and bottom surfaces of
the airfoil the lift force will occur. Airfoils are designed in a way that
their shape will cause the air flow to increase in velocity as it flows
over the top which, from Bernoulli equation, will cause the pressure to
decrease.

The coefficient of lift is the dimensionless number which is also a


function of the angle of attack, Mach number and Reynolds number.
The equation for the coefficient is as follows,

Equation 5: Coefficient of Lift

Fl
Cl =
1 2
V A
2

where A is the planform area, which is the product of the

chord length and wing span, V is the velocity, Fl is the lift force,

and is the density. The coefficient of lift can be plotted at a function


of the angle of attack and the relationship between them is linear until
around 15 degrees.

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Design, Implementation, and Conduction of
Experiment
To study the lift and drag forces on an airfoil an apparatus was
built based on a design by Martin Morris and Scott Post of Bradley
University. The intension of the design is to be cost effective and easy
to fabricate and added to any wind tunnel. The apparatus uses two
load cells, an Arduino Uno, and is constructed from aluminum. This
simple design enables the study of lift and drag to be done with
minimal resources.

The fabrication of the testing apparatus was completed using


only a band saw, end mill, and a screw tap. Although the apparatus
can be created with minimal equipment and materials, care needs to
be taken to ensure that the placement of the load cells will adequately
measure the lift and drag forces. One load cell was placed on the
bottom support plate and the apparatus was allowed to rest on this
load cell. As the lift force increases the force acting on the load cell will
decrease, this value will be recorded for the lift force. The second load
cell was placed at the back of the apparatus. As the drag force
increases the force acting on this second load cell will also increase,
this value will be recorded for the drag force.

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Micro-Controller

Load
Cell

Servo Motor

Figure 3: Experiment Parts

The experiment was conducted by placing the apparatus at the


end of a wind tunnel with only the airfoil and support rod in the flow
stream. A Pitot tube was used to measure the air velocity in the wind
tunnel. The Pitot tube gives a voltage that is converted into a pressure
and finally a velocity. The fluid velocity was then increased and the lift
and drag forces were recorded from the load cells. The angle of attack
of the airfoil was then changed and the increasing fluid velocity was
repeated. The relationship resulting from this change on the lift and
drag forces will be evaluated. The lift and drag values were obtained
through the Arduino Uno and the serial monitor inside the Arduino IDE.
From the recorded lift and drag forces the coefficients of lift and drag
will be determined. The values of the coefficient of lift as a function of
attack angle will then be plotted to attempt to determine the
approximate angle of attack which causes a stall condition on the
airfoil used in the experiment.

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1.1 Procedure Outline

The following procedure gives an overview of the process to conduct this


experiment.

1. Attach the airfoil to the testing apparatus.

2. Place the apparatus at the end of the wind tunnel with only the
airfoil and support rod in the flow stream.

3. Manually set the angle of attack at zero degrees.

4. Open the Arduino IDE

5. Open cal_code in the Arduino IDE

6. Calibrate both load cells by;

A. Recording the initial value of the load cells using the serial
monitor in the Arduino IDE

B. Changing the Arduino cal_code (appendix A) by setting the


ReadingA values to the initial values recorded in step A

C. Set the LoadA value in the Arduino code to 0

D. Place a known weight on the load cells and record the


output values

E. Set the LoadB values to the applied known weight

F. Change the Arduino cal_code by setting ReadingB to the


output value from step D

7. Record the temperature for the room.

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8. Turn on the wind tunnel blower motor.

9. Set the motor speed to 10 Hz.

10. Record the Pitot tube voltage from the Multi-meter at this
motor speed.

11. Record the values from the load cells for the generated lift
(LoadA) and drag (LoadB) at that motor speed.

12. Increase the motor speed by increments of 10 Hz, up to 60


Hz and repeat steps 10 and 11 at each of the increases.

13. Change the angle of attack by 5 degrees increments up to 20


degrees and repeat steps 9 through 12

Figure 5: Transducer for the Pitot Tube

Figure 4: Volt Meter for the Pitot Tube

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Experimental Results
The following tables present the results obtained from
performing this experiment. Other data can be found in appendix b.

20
10 Hz Hz 30 Hz 40 Hz 50 Hz 60 Hz
.0001 .001 .0098 .1472
0 N N N N .5984 N .9025 N
.0001 .001 .3237
5 N N .157 N N .6475 N .981 N
10 .0001 .001 .4905 1.3047
N N .157 N N .981 N N
15 .0001 .001 .3237 .8142 1.3047 1.7952
N N N N N N
20 .0001 .001 .3237 1.4715
N N N .981 N N 2.119 N
Table 1: Lift Force (N)

10 20 30 40 50
Hz Hz Hz Hz Hz 60 Hz
0.00 0.00 0.04 0.34 0.86 0.863
0 24 95 28 63 60 0
0.00 0.00 0.68 0.76 0.93 0.938
5 24 95 51 18 70 1
1 0.00 0.00 0.68 1.15 1.41 1.247
0 24 95 51 42 96 6
1 0.00 0.00 1.41 1.91 1.88 1.716
5 24 95 30 60 81 7
2 0.00 0.00 1.41 2.30 2.12 2.026
0 24 95 30 85 95 2
Table 2: Coefficient of Lift

20 30 40 50 60
10 Hz Hz Hz Hz Hz Hz
.0001 .001
0 N N .01 N .01 N .15 N .15 N
.0001 .001
5 N N .01 N .01 N .29 N .29 N
10 .0001 .001
N N .01 N .15 N .29 N .29 N
15 .0001 .001
N N .01 N .15 N .29 N .45 N
20 .0001 .001
N N .01 N .15 N .6 N .6 N

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Table 3: Drag Force (N)

10 Hz 20 Hz 30 Hz 40 Hz 50 Hz 60 Hz
0.015 0.061 0.277
0 5 3 1 0.1494 1.3779 0.9105
0.013 0.054 0.246
5 8 6 5 0.1329 2.4514 1.6198
10 0.011 0.046 0.209
7 3 2 1.6915 2.0804 1.3747
15 0.009 0.037 0.167
3 1 3 1.3532 1.6644 1.6863
20 0.007 0.070 0.708 10.620 43.191 43.191
1 8 1 9 5 5
Table 4: Coefficient of Drag

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Analysis of Data
From the obtained data, it is shown that as the fluid velocity
increases there is also an increase in the lift and drag forces. At lower
angles of attack, less than 10 degrees, the lift coefficient also increases
with increasing fluid velocity. However, as the angle of attack
increases to 10 degrees and above the lift coefficient begins to
decrease at increasing fluid velocity. It is also seen that when the
angle of attack increases the coefficient of lift also increases for all
fluid velocity.

Coefficient of Lift vs.


2.5000

2.0000
10 Hz
20 Hz
1.5000
30 Hz
Coefficient of Lift 40 Hz
1.0000
50 Hz
60 Hz
0.5000

0.0000
0 5 10 15 20 25

Angle of Attack

Figure 6: Coefficient of Lift vs. Angle of Attack

When the drag force is calculated with a coefficient of drag of


0.04 it should be close to 0.0418 N at a velocity of 10.83 m/s. Because
of this a load cell would need a sensitivity that enables it to read
values between 4 grams and 5 grams with a accuracy of 0.01 in
between different wind speed applications.

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To improve the reliability of the test apparatus the machined
parts need to be more carefully finished. The airfoil profile could also
be redesigned and 3-D printed to improve the quality of the
experiment data. Doing these will decrease the uncertainty of the
results because since the test apparatus will be stronger and able to
more accurately transfer the lift and drag forces to the load cells.
Adjusting the wind tunnel configuration could increase the wind
velocity which would provide greater range of results for the lift and
drag forces. The current maximum wind velocity is approximately 11
m/s which is a low velocity for effectively studying airfoils and the
forces acting upon them. Lastly, more sensitive load cells are needed
for this experiment to accurately measure the forces acting on the
airfoil.

Conclusion
Although this experiment was able to obtain data for the lift and
drag forces it regrettably did not produce satisfactory results due to
multiple factors. One factor that impeded the experiment was the time
it took to plan the apparatus, purchase the needed materials and have
them delivered, and finally fabricating the apparatus. Another factor
was the lack of a sensitive load cell that could adequately measure the
small changes in the lift and drag forces. There was also the factor of
not having the time to apply a statistical analysis to support the
validity and consistency of the results. Although the results were
compared to textbooks and published studies, with only one set of test
data no strong correlation can be concluded.

Additional work on the experiment where it can be conducted


multiple times to obtain more data will allow for the testing apparatus
to be better evaluated and the results it produces to be compared to

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that of other lift and drag experiments. This will also allow for the
calibration of the load cells to be refined so they more accurately
measure the forces being applied. If the issues discussed are corrected
the experiment will allow for a more complete process so the results
can be validated against other studies.

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References
Cengel, Y. A., & Cimbala, J. M. (2010). Fluid Mechanics: Fundamentals
and Applications. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Jr., John D. Anderson. Introduction To FLight Eighth Edition. New York:


McGraw-Hill Education, 2016.

https://kcts9.pbslearningmedia.org/asset/nv37_int_liftanddrag/

http://www.mpoweruk.com/flight_theory.htm

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/space/lift-drag.html

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Appendix A: Data
Fan Voltag Delta Wind
HZ e P Velocity
10 0.111 2.76 Pa 2.15 m/s
20 0.28 6.97 Pa 3.41 m/s
15.43
30 0.62 Pa 5.07 m/s
28.62
40 1.15 Pa 6.91 m/s
46.53
50 1.87 Pa 8.81 m/s
70.42
60 2.83 Pa 10.83 m/s
Table 5: Fluid Velocity

Air Density @ 1.2


70F kg/m^3
.01485
Planform Area m^2
Table 6: Density and Area

Cross
Sectional Area
0 .002295 m^2
5 .00258 m^2
10 .00304 m^2
15 .0038 m^2
20 .005016 m^2
25 .00578 m^2
30 .00654 m^2
Table 7: Airfoil Area

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Fluid Velocity vs. Coefficient of Lift
2.5000

2.0000

1.5000
0 Degrees
Coefficient of Lift 5 Degrees 10 Degrees 15 Degrees 20 Degrees
1.0000

0.5000

0.0000
10 Hz 15 Hz 20 Hz 25 Hz 30 Hz 35 Hz 40 Hz 45 Hz 50 Hz 55 Hz 60 Hz

Angle of Attack

Table 8: Fluid Velocity vs. Coefficient of Lift

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Appendix B: Arduino Code
float ReadingA_Strain1 = 29.0;
float LoadA_Strain1 = 0.0; // (grams)
float ReadingB_Strain1 = 41.0;
float LoadB_Strain1 = 200.0; // (grams)
float ReadingA_Strain2 = 27.0;
float LoadA_Strain2 = 0.0; // (grams)
float ReadingB_Strain2 = 41.0;
float LoadB_Strain2 = 200.0; // (grams)

int time_step = 1500 ; // reading every 1.5s


long time = 0;

void setup() {
Serial.begin(9600); // setup serial baudrate
}
void loop() {
float newReading_Strain1 = analogRead(0); // analog in 0 for
Strain 1
float newReading_Strain2 = analogRead(1); // analog in 1 for
Strain 2
// Calculate load by interpolation
float load_Strain1 = ((LoadB_Strain1 - LoadA_Strain1) /
(ReadingB_Strain1 - ReadingA_Strain1)) * (newReading_Strain1 -
ReadingA_Strain1) + LoadA_Strain1;
float load_Strain2 = ((LoadB_Strain2 - LoadA_Strain2) /
(ReadingB_Strain2 - ReadingA_Strain2)) * (newReading_Strain2 -
ReadingA_Strain2) + LoadA_Strain2;

// millis returns the number of milliseconds since the board


started the current program
if(millis() > time_step+time) {
Serial.print("Reading_Strain1 : ");
Serial.print(newReading_Strain1); // display strain 1 reading
Serial.print(" Load_Strain1 : ");
Serial.println(load_Strain1); // display strain 1 load
Serial.println('\n');
Serial.print("Reading_Strain2 : ");
Serial.print(newReading_Strain2); // display strain 2 reading
Serial.print(" Load_Strain2 : ");
Serial.println(load_Strain2); // display strain 2 load
Serial.println('\n');

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time = millis();
}
}

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