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11/12/2017 Concorde wing

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Engineered to be the best, Concorde flew above the rest

The Concorde Wing

The ogival wing form used on Concorde was an attempt to modify
the optimum delta for greater efficiency at low speeds, particularly
during take-off and landings. There was probably more attention
given to the design and construction of Concordes wing, than any
other area of the aircraft. Subsonic aircraft wings may have more
than 50 moveable devices, which may include complex flaps,
leading edge slats for additional lift at slow speeds, and items for
control and trim. Concordes slender ogival delta wing has none of
these and has only 6 elevons, which replace the traditional
elevators and ailerons for control of pitch and roll.

This slender delta has a characteristic not found in other wing shapes. It can fly successfully, producing enough lift, at a wide range of
angles of attack to the airflow, up to angles well above those which would cause other wings to stall. This allows Concorde to cope
with a wide speed-range simply by changing its angle of attack, rather like a bird does. The built-in ability to increase its lift at high
angles of attack enables the wing to delay the stall. The Mechanism which produces this effect is called vortex lift.

All swept wings create vortices (swirls of air) at

their wing tips. The delta wing, however, as its
angle of attack increases (at slower speeds),
creates larger, slower moving vortices which
creep forward along the leading edge,
eventually enveloping the whole upper surface
of the wing, thus further increasing the suction
and therefore the lift.If you ever saw Concorde
take off, or get a chance to see some pictures of
her doing this on a really soggy day, you would
see her half-disappear into a cloud of its own
making, as the reduction in pressure forces
water vapour supended in the air to condense.

Vortex lift is fundamental to Concordes ability

to fly slowly. It also produced one of the
characteristic qualities of the feel of Concorde
to a passenger. The air swirling over the wing at
slow speeds produced a bouncing motion, at a
frequency of about half a second, which was
sometimes mistaken for light turbulence. The
motion soon disappeared once the speed had
increased after take-off, but was there during
final approach. 1/7
11/12/2017 Concorde wing

This picture shows the influence of the engines on the vortical flow field around Concorde, the engine
nacelles; each one accommodates two engines are seen on the left-hand side along with the thrust

Air-flow around Concorde simulated landing 2/7
11/12/2017 Concorde wing

Lift generation on a delta wing

With aircraft that have straight and unswept wings, the flow separation results in a poor ratio of life to drag, and vibration due to
instability of flow. However in aircraft with swept wings, such as the Concorde delta wing design. The separated flow will roll up
into a pair of stable cone-shaped vortices. Unlike the bound vortex of a conventional wing, which merely represents the circulatory
tendency, these are real vortices of swirling mass of air like in whirlwind.

The separated vortex flow represents an alternative method of lift generation. The airspeed in the vortex is high, and so the pressure
is low. Thus, lift is still produced by exposing the upper surface to a low pressure than the lower surface; this low pressure is
produced due to the vortex motion above it.At low angle of attack the generation of lift is the same as in the convention wing the
effect of vortex lift comes into play only in high angles of attack.

The Slender delta-winged

Concorde was designed to fly
with separated conical vortex
flow in normal flight
conditions. The leading edge is
sharp in order to favour flow
separation even at small or
moderate angles of attack

The strong conical vortex forms over the leading

edge of the slender delta wing Concorde can be
seen by vapour condensation

This conical flow may be thought as a controlled separation. When lift is generated this way, the wing will not stall in the
conventional sense, and the lift will continue to increase for angles of attack up to 40 degrees or so. At the higher angles, the vortices
start to break down, and the lift falls off. This method of lift generation is used in supersonic flights and it also has other advantage of
postponing the sonic drag rise.Over 5000 hours of wing tunnel testing took place to modify its camber, droop and the twist, this was
to ensure that the vortex that would be formed along the wing would be stable at the high angles of attack.

The strength and weight of the wing were

very important in the design and construction.
Instead of bolting and riveting sections
together, the engineers used a process known
as sculpture milling that starts off with a solid
piece of metal. After that they used a
numerically controlled milling machine to
carve out the required shapes needed. The
material used for this was copper based
aluminium alloy, known as RR58 in the UK
and AU2GN in France.

Concordes wing makes sense, there are many features that are different from that of other airliners. They all stem from the
extraordinary range of speeds at which it had to be able to fly, from its ability to take off from Heathrow in the morning, cross the
Atlantic at Mach 2, gracefully slow down to join the traffic flow into Kennedy Airport and land in sequence with all the other aircraft 3/7
11/12/2017 Concorde wing

Concorde wing design

The wing was designed and then built in France, and can be broken down into nine
distinct sections plus a number of smaller parts, that is on paper. In reality five major
sections were fixed for life during the construction of Concorde. The big five sections
are lateral slices comprising wing/fuselage/wing and together they form the structural
heart of Concorde.The big five sections are lateral slices comprising wing/fuselage/wing
and together they form the structural heart of Concorde.In general, the wing is a multi-
spar torsion box built up from many comparatively small spar, rib and skin sections
bolted together. Most of the spar and rib sections have been machined from billets or
forgings, the skin panels from prestretched planks. The panels have integral stiffening
webs.In the forward wing and in the wing section of the centre there are single-web
spars where the spars are also fuel tank walls and pin jointed, tubular, lattice ribs set
spanwise between the spars. There are no cordwise ribs in the forward wing area, which
Farnborough Air Sciences Trust delta wing is attached to three fuselage frames by adjustable fittings
development models

The big five sections are lateral slices comprising wing/fuselage/wing and together they form the structural heart of Concorde.
To the front spar of the centre section by a double row of countersunk bolts. It incorporates the forward trim tank No. 1
(See diagram below) 4/7
11/12/2017 Concorde wing

The wing sections of the rest of the centre section each have a few very strong machined spars which extend right across the
airframe, as far as the leading edges and outer wings, and numerous cordwise ribs. Inboard of the engine nacelles these ribs are pin
jointed tubular lattice frames. Above and forward of the engine nacelles the ribs, in addition to the spars, are machined

Examples of ribs. (Rips are numbered from 1 to 27 from the wing tip to the root. No. 17 is on the centre line of the engine nacelles) 5/7
11/12/2017 Concorde wing

The outer wings are torsion boxes of machined spars, ribs and panels. Each is attached to the centre sections by 340 high tensile
steel bolts of various diameters. They embody the No.7 main fuel tanks and carry four of the six elevons. The outer hinges of the
elevons are designed to permit spanwise expansion. The elevons themselves are honeycomb construction and are connected to each
other by flexible joints.The leading edges are in 4ft sections which are structurally independent to alleviate thermal stress. The
chemically milled skins are attached to machined ribs and extruded stringers and all sections are removable.The numerous
inspections hatches in the surface of the wing are either quick-lock or screw fixed and none of them are load bearing. 6/7
11/12/2017 Concorde wing

As already mentioned above, the wing is of a delta type, and has orthogonal members in which the sealed structure forms the fuel
tanks. The forward wing, intermediate wing, and outer wing form the primary structure of the wing. The leading edges form the
secondary structure of Concordes wing, and the forward wing provides the continuity of the wing with the fuselage forward of
frame 41.Several sections make up the intermediate wing which picks up with the upper fuselage. The intermediate wing rear
section is so designed as to mount the engines as well as the elevens. Each section has machined AU2GN alloy skin panels in
which access panels are provided to allow access to the fuel tanks, accessories and aircraft systems.There is a detachable outer
wing which is attached to the intermediate wing and is equipped with the elevon attachments. The leading edges are also
detachable and some are equipped with electrical de-icing.

Click below for further information on the

Wing fluid drainage Wing structure Wing Fairings

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