Basic Aerodynamics & Theory of Flight

Lift - Revision

• According to Newton’s Laws, “Lift is the reaction that results from the action of forcing air downward by the airfoil” (Jeppesen) • It is the upwards acting force on an airfoil • NASA has established through experimentation that pressure on lower surface of wing is higher than upper surface (hence pressure difference exists) • Lift results from the higher pressure below the wing’s surface and lower pressure above the wing’s surface. • Lift acts perpendicular to the relative wind

Lift Production – Magnus Effect

• Discovered by Heinrich Magnus in 1852 • The effect was already observed by Newton in 1672. • The Magnus effect states that any object rotated in a fluid to produce a vortex or circulation, will generate lift when placed in a stream of air. • It is possible to generate a very large amount of lift by using a rotating • Cylinder • But the mechanical complexities of such a system normally outweigh any potential advantages.

• It is often incorrectly thought, that the resultant force due to the pressure acts at right angles to the plane of the wing. • However it has been observed that in addition to a perpendicular or normal force component N, produced by the difference in pressure between upper and lower surfaces, there is also a tangential component T, produced as a consequence of the low pressure acting on the leading edge. • This ties in with theory which indicates that as long as the flow follows the shape of the aerofoil, the lift force should be at right angles to the direction of the main air stream, and not at right angles to the plane of the wing.

Relation to theory?

Lift Production – Magnus Effect
• The Magnus effect is currently used to create lift with a rotating cylinder at the front of an airfoil that allows flight at lower speed than normal. Magenn Power Inc has created a lighter-than-air high altitude wind turbine called MARS that uses the Magnus effect to keep a stable and controlled position in air.

Stagnation

• The air following the dividing streamline slows down as it approaches the wing. • If the wing is not swept, the air actually stops instantaneously on the surface before dividing. • Because the particles are momentarily ‘stagnant’ at this position, it is known as a “stagnation point”

Stagnation

If the wing is swept, then only the component of flow at right angles to the wing leading edge is stopped. • Stagnation pressure is the pressure at a stagnation position; a position where there is no relative motion between the air and the surface.

Variation of lift with AoA and camber

The angle at which no lift is generated is known as the zero-lift angle.

Variation of lift
• • • • • • • • •

In steady level flight, the lift force must always be equal and opposite to the aircraft weight. In landing and take-off where the speed is low, a large CL value is required. As the flight speed increases, the lift coefficient required reduces. The pilot controls the lift coefficient value primarily by altering the angle of attack of the aircraft. The angle of attack must be gradually reduced as the flight speed increases. Most aircraft are designed to fly in a near level attitude at cruise, and must therefore adopt a nose-up attitude on landing and take-off. In modern aircraft, the high lift coefficient required for landing is normally produced by means of flaps which increases the camber and area of wing. Flaps allow for approach at higher angle of attack with lower speed.

Stall

• A stall occurs when the smooth airflow over the airplane’s wing is disrupted, and the lift degenerates rapidly. • This is caused when the wing exceeds its critical angle of attack. • Stall can occur at any airspeed, in any attitude, with any power setting. • Most stalls result in some loss of altitude during recovery. • At a certain point, the lift starts to fall off. This effect is known as stalling. • The fall-off of lift may occur quite sharply and quickly • A sudden loss in lift can obviously have disastrous consequences • The stalling characteristics of an aircraft wing depend not only on the aerofoil section shape, but also on the wing geometry • The resultant upward force (L) at increasing angles of attack acts more or less at right angles to the surface, so drag is produced. • Stall affects controllability of the aircraft. > Combat Aircraft / Missiles

Stall

Stall

Stall

Flow Separation

• Said to occur when the airflow around the airfoil is no longer streamlined but turbulent and separates resulting in reduced lift. • The main difficulty of flight in separated flow is one of stability and control. • The lift, drag, and most importantly, the position of the centre of lift, all vary rapidly. • To overcome this problem, the aircraft may need artificial stability in the form of automatic control system. • Recent combat aircraft have demonstrated controlled flight at angles of attack of more than 70°. • Even though it may be possible to control the aircraft in the stalled condition, the instability of the separated flow may still cause structural • problems due to excessive buffeting.

Other Methods

• Conical Lift Generation (Concorde) • Using engine thrust (Harrier – VTOL) • Rotary Wings (Helicopter) • Autogyro (Ultralight)

The Wings

• The ratio of the overall wing span (length) to the average chord (width) is known as its aspect ratio. • Simple experiments confirmed that high aspect ratio wings produced a better ratio of lift to drag than short ones for flight at subsonic speeds.

The Wings

• The wing produces a circulatory effect; behaving like a vortex • English engineer F. W. Lanchester reasoned that if a wing or lifting surface acts like a vortex • A theory of vortex behaviour indicated that a vortex could only persist if it either terminated in a wall at each end, or formed a closed ring • More lift = strong vortices • Danger behind large aircraft • Turbulence • Flow downward and outward. > Reduce • Bernoulli