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Pressure distribution over an airfoil

Ajay Kumar Meena, Alok Kumar Gartia , Narendra Kumar Meena,

L Shivalik Naik , Uttam Jodawat , Akash Kanaujiya
Department of Aerospace, Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology

The experiment was a study on the lift and drag coefficients from the pressure distribu-
tion over an airfoil of NACA series 662-015 in a wind tunnel run. The same was compared
with the XFLR5 results. Though these were comparable, they were not exactly same as
the experimental datas were taken only for finite number of points on the arfoil.

P Pressure, N/m2
τ̄¯ Shear tensor, N/m2
N Normal force, N
A Axial force, N
CL Coefficient of lift
CD Coefficient of drag
q Dynamic pressure, N/m2

θ Angle between chord and resultant force,
α Angle of attack, ◦

∞ Freestream
i Index
u Upper surface of aerofoil
l Lower surface of aerofoil

I. Introduction
In this experiment, an open suction wind tunnel operating at lower pressures is used to measure the
static pressure at various points on an aerofoil. Since the Mach no. of the flow is low, it can be assumed
to be incompressible. Stall angle, the angle at which flow separation (fluid flow detaches from the object
and eddies and vortices are formed) occurs was measured at various Reynolds number. Turbulent flow has
lesser tendency to separate because of higher energy to molecules nearer to the surface. However, the flow
over the airfoil is laminar under the conditions of operation of the wind tunnel. Flow separation reduces lift
and increases drag and so is a important phenomenon to be dealt with. Assuming inviscid flow, the pressure
distribution is used to measure the lift and drag acting on the air foil. CL and CD are calculated for various
Reynolds number and compared.

II. Theory
Consider a small portion of the aerofoil that can be considered as a straight line with unit length and
area dS and over which the surface forces can be assumed constant. Thus, the force on this small area is
¯ = −P dS
dF ¯ + τ̄¯.dS

Neglecting viscous effects, and resolving the force into axial and normal components for the entire aerofoil
(Fig. 1),

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Figure 1. Figure showing the pressure and shear forces acting on the upper and lower surface of the airfoil.

N= (−Pu dSu cosθ + Pl dSl cosθ)
A= (−Pu dSu sinθ + Pl dSl sinθ)
Since, the integral requires pressure at each and every point on the aerofoil, it is not possible to calculate
directly. It can however be approximated by polygonizing the aerofoil and assuming the force to be constant
on each of the sides of the polygon. Thus,
dSi = (yi − yi+1 )2 + (xi − xi+1 )2

And the forces are calculated using,

N= Pl(avg) cosθdSi − Pu(avg) cosθdSi
A= Pl(avg) sinθdSi − Pu(avg) sinθdSi

Now, the lift and drag can be calculated as

L = N cosα − Asinα

D = N sinα + Acosα
where α is the angle of attack of the aerofoil. The coefficient of lift, CL and coefficient of drag CD are given
CL =
q∞ Splan
CD =
q∞ Splan

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III. Experimental Setup
The experiment was performed on a suction type wind tunnel. The aerofoil to be tested is kept in the
test section with static pressure probes attached to various points on the aerofoil. A variable inclination
multi-tube manometer with ethanol as the manometric fluid, is used to measure the pressures.

IV. Procedure
1. The ambient temperature and pressure were noted down.
2. The multi-tube manometer was checked, the angle of inclination was noted and the probes connected
to various sections of importance were noted.
3. The motor was switched on. It was ensured that the blades of the fan was rotating in the same direction
as marked.
4. The RPM was slowly increased to 760 RPM by rotation the knob on the potentiometer.
5. The angle of attack was of the aerofoil was kept at -6◦ .
6. The manometer measurements were noted down and measurements were taken for increments of angle
of attack (in 3◦ steps) till stall is reached. The onset of stall is indicated by a sudden change in the
manometer readings.
7. This was repeated for different RPMs.
8. The RPM of the motor was brought down slowly and the motor was switched off.

V. Result and Discussion

It can be observed that a linear relationship exists between Lift and Angle of Attack(AoA) over some
range of AoA, uptil the Critical Angle of Attack(αc ), where the maximum lift or lift coefficient is obtained.
As AoA increases, near to the Critical AoA(αc ), the simple linear relationship between lift and AoA breaks
down. Also, beyond the c, any increase in AoA is accompanied by a decrease in lift along with a simultaneous
decrease in lift coefficient. This observation can be attributed to the drastic increase in adverse pressure
gradient which causes ow separation.

It was also observed that for zero AoA, a non-zero residue of lift existed, which is characteristic of an
asymmetric airfoil (in this case NACA 662 015). Thus by varying the AoA of the airfoil, the stall angle
was determined to be equal to 11.7 deg. The experimental results are compared with the results obtained
from ow simulation software XFLR5. The drag vs graph shows that the drag is increasing with the angle
of attack for a particular velocity. Similarly the coefficient of drag vs α follows the same trend.

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Figure 2. Lift vs Angle of attack

Figure 3. CD
vs Angle of attack

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Figure 4. CL vs Angle of attack

Figure 5. Drag vs Angle of attack

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Figure 6. CD vs Angle of attack

Figure 7. Xflr analysis for 700 RPM

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VI. Conclusion
Slight deviation of results from the theoretical values obtained using xr was observed. This is due to
the method of calculation that was considered to nd the values of lift and drag where average pressure has
been considered over a nite surface area to calculate magnitude of force acting over it. These deviations are
also due to the manufacturing defects where perfectly symmetric airfoil cannot be obtained. The airfoil was
already placed at a positive angle of attack due to which negative lift was not obtained.
In this experiment, lift was calculated by integrating the pressure on the walls of the airfoil (not very
far above or below the airfoil over a long enough length). This method is very convenient to measure and
calculate lift as well as drag. The lift and the coefficient of lift varied linearly with the angle of attack. The
CL vs α characteristics were same for dierent V.

VII. Appendix
A. Sample Calculations
Calculation of Atmospheric pressure:
Pbarometer × 101325
Pa = Pa
750 × 101325
Pa = = 99991.7763Pa

Calculation of pressure at any point on the airfoil:

Pi = Pa − (ρet ) × g × (hi − href ) × 10−2 × sin45◦

For RP M = 600 α = 4◦ i=2

h2 = 9.8
h3 = 9.5
P2 = 99991.77632 − (789) × 9.81 × (10.1 − 6.7) × 10−2 × 0.5 = 99685.33066Pa

The pressure at (i + 1)th point is found using the above relation.

So, P3 = 99701.74739Pa
The average between two points is defined by:
Pi + Pi+1
Pavgi = (1)
So, Pavg2 = 99693.53902 Pa
The X and Y locations of the probe points 5 and 6 are:

X2 = 0.01980198
X3 = 0.03960396
Y2 = 0.002
Y3 = 0.004
=⇒ dx = 0.01980198
dy = 0.002

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Calculating the forces:

N = Pavgi × dx
N = 99693.53902 × 0.01980198 = 1974.129466 N
A = Pavgi × dy
A = 99693.53902 × 0.002 = 199.387078N

L = N cosα − Asinα (2)

D = N sinα + Acosα (3)

Substituting the above values in equation 2 and 3:

L = 1974.129466 × cos4◦ − 199.387078 × sin4◦

L = 1955.412046N
D = 1974.129466 × sin4◦ + 199.387078 × cos4◦
D = 336.6096096914N

Computing ρ :
From the state equation
Pa = ρ × R × T (4)

=⇒ ρ =
ρ= = 1.1498kg/m3
287 × 304

Uncertainty Analysis

RP M = 600
α = 4◦

Taking partial derivate of equation 2 and equation 3 with respect to the variables:

1. α
2. N
3. A

= cosα (5)

= −N sinα − Acosα (6)

= −sinα (7)

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∂L ∂L ∂L
UL = ( ∂N )2 + ( ∂α)2 + ( ∂A)2 = (8)
∂N ∂α ∂A

= sinα (9)

= N cosα − Asinα (10)

= −sinα (11)

∂D ∂D ∂D
UD = ( ∂N )2 + ( ∂α)2 + ( ∂A)2 = (12)
∂N ∂α ∂A

∂CL 2
= (13)
∂L ρV 2 S

∂CL −1
= (14)
∂ρ ρCD

∂CL −2
= (15)
∂v Cl V

UCL = ( ∂N )2 + ( ∂α)2 + ( ∂A)2 = 0.013636562 (16)
∂N ∂α ∂A

∂CD 2
= (17)
∂L ρV 2 S

∂CD −1
= (18)
∂ρ ρCD

∂CD −2
= (19)
∂v CD V
UCD = ( ∂N )2 + ( ∂α)2 + ( ∂A)2 = 0.001790313 (20)
∂N ∂α ∂A

B. B. Calculation Table
The entire calculation table was done excel sheet. Excel sheet was not compatible for entire readings, hence
a separate file is attached with this report.

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VIII. Acknowledgements
We would like to thank our supervisor, Prof. Manoj T. Nair and Prof. Pradeep Kumar P., for the
patient guidance, encouragement. We would like to thank lab Assistants Mr. Nasaruddeen sir and especially
Navneet from for guiding us in carrying out and verifying experiments results.

1 Abbott, I. H., and von Doenhoff, A. E., Theory of wing sections, including a summary of Airfoil data, McGraw-Hill, 1949.
2 Anderson, J. D., Fundamentals of Aerodynamics, 5th edition, Tata McGraw-Hill Education, 2010.
3 The flight demonstration wind tunnel, Users Manual.

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