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MAE 3241: AERODYNAMICS AND FLIGHT MECHANICS

Thin Airfoil Theory

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department


Florida Institute of Technology

D. R. Kirk
OVERVIEW: THIN AIRFOIL THEORY
• In words: Camber line is a streamline
Fundamental Equation of
• Written at a given point x on the chord line
Thin Airfoil Theory : • dz/dx is evaluated at that point x
1 γ ( ξ ) dξ
c
 dz  • Variable ξ is a dummy variable of integration

2π 0 x − ξ
= V∞  α − 
 dx 
which varies from 0 to c along the chord line
• Vortex strength γ =γ (ξ ) is a variable along the
chord line and is in units of
Coordinate Transformation • In transformed coordinates, equation is written at a
point, θ 0. θ is the dummy variable of integration
c
ξ = (1 − cos θ ) – At leading edge, x = 0, θ = 0
2
– At trailed edge, x = c, θ =π
dξ = sin θdθ
• The central problem of thin airfoil theory is to
c solve the fundamental equation for γ (ξ )
x= (1 − cos θ 0 ) subject to the Kutta condition, γ (c)=0
2
• The central problem of thin airfoil theory is to
solve the fundamental equation for γ (θ )
Transformed Equation subject to the Kutta condition, γ (π )=0
1
π
γ (θ ) sin θdθ  dz 
2π ∫0 cosθ − cosθ 0 ∞  dx 
= V α −
SUMMARY: SYMMETRIC AIRFOILS
Fundamental Equation of
Thin Airfoil Theory :
1 γ ( ξ ) dξ
c
 dz 
2π ∫0 x − ξ
= V∞  α − 
 dx 

Symmetric airfoils :
dz
=0
dx

Coordinate Transformation
c
ξ= (1 − cosθ )
2
dξ = sin θdθ
c
x = (1 − cos θ 0 )
2

Transformed Equation
1
π
γ (θ ) sin θdθ
2π ∫0 cos θ − cosθ 0 = V∞α
SUMMARY: SYMMETRIC AIRFOILS
• Fundamental equation of thin airfoil theory for
1

γ (θ ) sin θdθ a symmetric airfoil (dz/dx=0) written in
2π ∫0 cosθ − cosθ 0 = V∞α transformed coordinates

• Solution

γ (θ ) = 2V α
( 1 + cos θ ) – “A rigorous solution for γ (θ ) can be
obtained from the mathematical theory of

sin θ integral equations, which is beyond the
scope of this book.” (page 324, Anderson)

0
γ ( π ) = 2V∞α • Solution must satisfy Kutta condition γ (π )=0
0 at trailing edge to be consistent with
experimental results
• Direct evaluation gives an indeterminant form,
− sin π
γ ( π ) = 2V∞α
but can use L’Hospital’s rule to show that
=0 Kutta condition does hold.
cos π
SUMMARY: SYMMETRIC AIRFOILS
c
• Total circulation, Γ , around the airfoil (around the
Γ = ∫ γ ( ξ )dξ vortex sheet described by γ (ξ ))
0

• Transform coordinates and integrate


π
c
Γ = ∫ γ (θ ) sin θdθ
20

Γ = π αcV∞ • Simple expression for total circulation

• Apply Kutta-Joukowski theorem (see §3.16),


L′ = ρ ∞V∞ Γ = π αcρ ∞V∞2 “although the result [L’=ρ ∞V ∞2Γ ] was derived
for a circular cylinder, it applies in general to
cl = 2π α cylindrical bodies of arbitrary cross section.”
• Lift coefficient is linearly proportional to angle of
dcl attack
= 2π
dα • Lift slope is 2π /rad or 0.11/deg
EXAMPLE: NACA 65-006 SYMMETRIC AIRFOIL

dcl/dα = 2π

• Bell X-1 used NACA 65-006


(6% thickness) as horizontal tail
• Thin airfoil theory lift slope:
dcl/dα = 2π rad-1 = 0.11 deg-1
• Compare with data
– At α = -4º: cl ~ -0.45
– At α = 6º: cl ~ 0.65
– dcl/dα = 0.11 deg-1
SUMMARY: SYMMETRIC AIRFOILS
c c • Total moment about the leading edge (per
′ = − ∫ ξdL = − ρ ∞V∞ ∫ ξ γ( ξ ) dξ
M LE unit span) due to entire vortex sheet
0 0

• Total moment equation is then transformed


1 π α to new coordinate system based on θ
M LE′ = − ρ ∞V∞2 c 2
2 2 • After performing integration (see hand out,

M LE π α or Problem 4.4), resulting moment
cm ,le = =− coefficient about leading edge is –π α /2
1 2
ρ ∞V∞2 Sc
2
• Can be re-written in terms of the lift
c
cm ,le = − l coefficient
4
• Moment coefficient about the leading edge
cl can be related to the moment coefficient
cm , c 4 = cm ,le +
4 about the quarter-chord point

cm , c 4 = 0 • Center of pressure is at the quarter-


chord point for a symmetric airfoil
EXAMPLE: NACA 65-006 SYMMETRIC AIRFOIL

• Bell X-1 used NACA 65-006 cm,c/4 = 0


(6% thickness) as horizontal tail
• Thin airfoil theory lift slope:
dcl/dα = 2π rad-1 = 0.11 deg-1
• Compare with data
– At α = -4º: cl ~ -0.45
– At α = 6º: cl ~ 0.65
– dcl/dα = 0.11 deg-1
• Thin airfoil theory:
cm,c/4 = 0
• Compare with data
CENTER OF PRESSURE AND AERODYNAMIC CENTER
• Center of Pressure: Point on an airfoil (or body) about which aerodynamic
moment is zero
– Thin Airfoil Theory: c
• Symmetric Airfoil: x =
cp
4
• Aerodynamic Center: Point on an airfoil (or body) about which aerodynamic
moment is independent of angle of attack
– Thin Airfoil Theory:
c
• Symmetric Airfoil: x
A.C . =
4
CAMBERED AIRFOILS: THEORY
• In words: Camber line is a streamline
Fundamental Equation of
• Written at a given point x on the chord line
Thin Airfoil Theory : • dz/dx is evaluated at that point x
1 γ ( ξ ) dξ
c
 dz  • Variable ξ is a dummy variable of integration

2π 0 x − ξ
= V∞  α − 
 dx 
which varies from 0 to c along the chord line
• Vortex strength γ =γ (ξ ) is a variable along the
chord line and is in units of
Coordinate Transformation • In transformed coordinates, equation is written at a
point, θ 0. θ is the dummy variable of integration
c
ξ = (1 − cos θ ) – At leading edge, x = 0, θ = 0
2
– At trailed edge, x = c, θ =π
dξ = sin θdθ
• The central problem of thin airfoil theory is to
c solve the fundamental equation for γ (ξ )
x= (1 − cos θ 0 ) subject to the Kutta condition, γ (c)=0
2
• The central problem of thin airfoil theory is to
solve the fundamental equation for γ (θ )
Transformed Equation subject to the Kutta condition, γ (π )=0
1
π
γ (θ ) sin θdθ  dz 
2π ∫0 cosθ − cosθ 0 ∞  dx 
= V α −
CAMBERED AIRFOILS

γ (θ ) sin θdθ
π Fundamental Equation of
1  dz 
∫0 cosθ − cosθ 0 = V∞ α − dx 
Thin Airfoil Theory
2π • Camber line is a streamline

• Solution
Solution :
– “a rigorous solution for
 1 + cos θ ∞  γ (θ ) is beyond the
γ (θ ) = 2V∞  A0 + ∑ An sin nθ  scope of this book.”
 sin θ n =1 
• Leading term is very similar
to the solution result for the
symmetric airfoil
• Second term is a Fourier
Compare : sine series with coefficients
An. The values of An depend
γ (θ ) = 2V α
( 1 + cos θ ) on the shape of the camber
∞ line (dz/dx) and α
sin θ
EVALUATION PROCEDURE

1
π
γ (θ ) sin θdθ  dz 
2π ∫0 cosθ − cosθ 0 = V∞ α − dx 

 1 + cos θ ∞ 
γ (θ ) = 2V∞  A0 + ∑ An sin nθ 
 sin θ n =1 

A0 (1 + cos θ ) dθ 1
π ∞ π
1 An sin nθ sin θdθ dz
∫ + ∑∫ =α −
π 0
cos θ − cos θ 0 π n =1 0 cos θ − cos θ 0 dx
PRINCIPLES OF IDEAL FLUID AERODYNAMICS
BY K. KARAMCHETI, JOHN WILEY & SONS, INC., NEW YORK, 1966. APPENDIX E
PRINCIPLES OF IDEAL FLUID AERODYNAMICS
BY K. KARAMCHETI, JOHN WILEY & SONS, INC., NEW YORK, 1966. APPENDIX E
CAMBERED AIRFOILS

dz • After making substitutions of standard
A0 − ∑ An cos nθ 0 = α − forms available in advanced math
n =1 dx textbooks

∞ • We can solve this expression for dz/dx


dz
= ( α − A0 ) + ∑ An cos nθ 0 which is a Fourier cosine series
dx n =1
expansion for the function dz/dx,
which describes the camber of the
airfoil

∞ • Examine a general Fourier cosine


f (θ ) = B0 + ∑ Bn cos nθ series representation of a function
n =1
f(θ ) over an interval 0 ≤ θ ≤ π
π
1
B0 =
π ∫ f ( θ ) dθ
0 • The Fourier coefficients are given by
π B0 and Bn
2
Bn = ∫ f (θ ) cos nθdθ
π 0
ADVANCED CALCULUS FOR APPLICATIONS, 2nd EDITION
BY F. B. HILDEBRAND, PRENTICE-HALL, INC., ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., 1976
ADVANCED CALCULUS FOR APPLICATIONS, 2nd EDITION
BY F. B. HILDEBR AND, PRENTICE-HALL, INC., ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., 1976
ADVANCED CALCULUS FOR APPLICATIONS, 2nd EDITION
BY F. B. HILDEBRAND, PRENTICE-HALL, INC., ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., 1976
CAMBERED AIRFOILS
• Compare Fourier expansion of dz/dx
π with general Fourier cosine series
1 dz expansion
α − A0 = ∫ dθ 0
π 0 dx

π
1 dz
A0 = α − ∫ dθ 0 • Analogous to the B0 term in the
π 0 dx general expansion

π
2 dz
An = ∫ cos nθ 0 dθ 0
• Analogous to the Bn term in the
general expansion
π 0 dx
CAMBERED AIRFOILS
c
• We can now calculate
Γ = ∫ γ ( ξ )dξ the overall circulation
0 around the cambered
π airfoil
c
Γ = ∫ γ (θ ) sin θdθ
20

Recall general solution for γ (θ ) :


 1 + cos θ ∞  • Integration can be done
γ (θ ) = 2V∞  A0 + ∑ An sin nθ  quickly with symbolic
 sin θ n =1  math package, or by
making use of standard
table of integrals
 π ∞ π
 (certain terms are
Γ = cV∞  A0 ∫ (1 + cos θ ) dθ + ∑ An ∫ sin nθ sin θdθ  identically zero)
 0 n =1 0 
• End result after careful
 π  integration only
Γ = cV∞  πA0 + A1  involves coefficients A0
 2 
and A1
CAMBERED AIRFOILS
L′ = ρ ∞V∞ Γ • Calculation of lift per unit span

 π 
Γ = cV∞  πA0 + A1 
 2 

 π  • Lift per unit span only involves coefficients


L′ = ρ ∞V∞2 c πA0 + A1  A0 and A1
 2 

L′
cl = = π ( 2 A0 + A1 ) • Lift coefficient only involves coefficients A0
1
ρ ∞V∞ S
2
and A1
2
 π
1 dz 
cl = 2π α + ∫ ( cos θ 0 − 1) dθ 0 
 π 0 dx 
• The theoretical lift slope for a cambered
airfoil is 2π , which is a general result
dcl from thin airfoil theory
= 2π
dα • However, note that the expression for cl
CAMBERED AIRFOILS
• From any cl vs. α data plot for
dcl
cl = ( α − α L =0 ) a cambered airfoil

• Substitution of lift slope = 2π

cl = 2π ( α − α L =0 ) • Compare with expression for


lift coefficient for a cambered
airfoil

 π
1 dz 
cl = 2π α + ∫ ( cos θ 0 − 1) dθ 0  • Let α L=0 denote the zero lift
 π 0 dx 
angle of attack
– Value will be negative for
an airfoil with positive
(dz/dx > 0) camber
π
1 dz
α L =0 = − ∫ ( cos θ 0 − 1) dθ 0 • Thin airfoil theory provides a
π 0 dx means to predict the angle of
zero lift
– If airfoil is symmetric
dz/dx = 0 and α L=0 =0
SAMPLE DATA: SYMMETRIC AIRFOIL

Lift Coefficient

Angle of Attack, α
A symmetric airfoil generates zero lift at zero α
SAMPLE DATA: CAMBERED AIRFOIL

Lift Coefficient

Angle of Attack, α
A cambered airfoil generates positive lift at zero α
SAMPLE DATA
• Lift coefficient (or lift) linear
variation with angle of attack, a
– Cambered airfoils have
Lift (for now)

positive lift when α = 0


– Symmetric airfoils have
zero lift when α = 0
• At high enough angle of attack,
the performance of the airfoil
rapidly degrades → stall

Cambered airfoil has


lift at α =0
At negative α airfoil
will have zero lift
AERODYNAMIC MOMENT ANALYSIS
c c • Total moment about the leading edge (per
′ = − ∫ ξdL = − ρ ∞V∞ ∫ ξ γ( ξ ) dξ
M LE unit span) due to entire vortex sheet
0 0

• Total moment equation is then


 1 + cos θ ∞
γ (θ ) = 2V∞  A0 + ∑ An sin nθ  transformed to new coordinate system
 sin θ n =1  based on θ


M LE ′
M LE • Expression for moment coefficient about
cm ,le = =
1 1 the leading edge
ρ ∞V∞2 Sc ρ ∞V∞2 c 2
2 2
c
2
cm ,le =− 2 ∫
ξ γ( ξ ) dξ • Perform integration, “The details are left
V∞ c 0 for Problem 4.9”, see hand out
π
1 c
cm ,le =− ∫ ( 1 − cos θ ) γ ( θ ) sin θdθ
2V∞ 0
2
• Result of integration gives moment
π A2  coefficient about the leading edge, cm,le , in
cm ,le = −  0
A + A1 − 
2 2  terms of A0, A1, and A2
AERODYNAMIC MOMENT SUMMARY
• Aerodynamic moment coefficient about leading
π A2  edge of cambered airfoil
cm ,le = −  A0 + A1 − 
2 2 
• Can re-writte in terms of the lift coefficient, cl
 cl π 
cm ,le = −  + ( A1 − A2 )  – For symmetric airfoil
4 4  • dz/dx=0
• A1=A2=0
• cm,le =-cl/4
π • Moment coefficient about quarter-chord point
cm , c 4 = ( A2 − A1 ) – Finite for a cambered airfoil
4
• For symmetric cm,c/4 =0
– Quarter chord point is not center of
pressure for a cambered airfoil
c π  – A1 and A2 do not depend on α
xcp = 1 + ( A1 − A2 )  • cm,c/4 is independent of α
4  cl 
– Quarter-chord point is theoretical location
of aerodynamic center for cambered airfoils
CENTER OF PRESSURE AND AERODYNAMIC CENTER
• Center of Pressure: Point on an airfoil (or body) about which aerodynamic
moment is zero
– Thin Airfoil Theory: c
xcp =
• Symmetric Airfoil: 4
• Cambered Airfoil: c π 
xcp = 1 + ( A1 − A2 ) 
4  cl 

• Aerodynamic Center: Point on an airfoil (or body) about which aerodynamic


moment is independent of angle of attack
– Thin Airfoil Theory: c
x A.C . =
• Symmetric Airfoil: 4
• Cambered Airfoil: c
x A.C . =
4
ACTUAL LOCATION OF AERODYNAMIC CENTER

x/c=0.25
NACA 23012
xA.C. < 0.25c

x/c=0.25
NACA 64212
xA.C. > 0.25 c
IMPLICATIONS FOR STALL

• Flat Plate Stall

Increasing airfoil
• Leading Edge Stall
thickness

• Trailing Edge Stall


LEADING EDGE STALL
• NACA 4412 (12% thickness)

• Linear increase in cl until stall

• At α just below 15º streamlines


are highly curved (large lift) and
still attached to upper surface of
airfoil

• At α just above 15º massive


flow-field separation occurs over
top surface of airfoil →
significant loss of lift

• Called Leading Edge Stall


• Characteristic of relatively thin
airfoils with thickness between
about 10 and 16 percent chord
TRAILING EDGE STALL

• NACA 4421 (21% thickness)


• Progressive and gradual movement of separation from trailing edge toward
leading edge as α is increased
• Called Trailing Edge Stall
THIN AIRFOIL STALL
• Example: Flat Plate with 2% thickness (like a NACA 0002)
• Flow separates off leading edge even at low α (α ~ 3º)
• Initially small regions of separated flow called separation bubble
• As a increased reattachment point moves further downstream until total separation
NACA 4412 vs. NACA 4421
• NACA 4412 and NACA 4421 have
same shape of mean camber line
• Theory predicts that linear lift slope
and α L=0 same for both

• Leading edge stall shows rapid


drop of lift curve near maximum lift
• Trailing edge stall shows gradual
bending-over of lift curve at
maximum lift, “soft stall”

• High cl,max for airfoils with leading


edge stall
• Flat plate stall exhibits poorest
behavior, early stalling

• Thickness has major effect on cl,max


AIRFOIL THICKNESS
AIRFOIL THICKNESS: WWI AIRPLANES
English Sopwith Camel

Thin wing, lower maximum CL


Bracing wires required – high drag

German Fokker Dr-1

Higher maximum CL
Internal wing structure
Higher rates of climb
Improved maneuverability
OPTIMUM AIRFOIL THICKNESS
• Some thickness vital to achieving high maximum lift coefficient
• Amount of thickness influences type of stall
• Expect an optimum
• Example: NACA 63-2XX, NACA 63-212 looks about optimum

NACA 63-212

cl,max
MODERN LOW-SPEED AIRFOILS
NACA 2412 (1933)
Leading edge radius = 0.02c

NASA LS(1)-0417 (1970)


Whitcomb [GA(w)-1] (Supercritical Airfoil)
Leading edge radius = 0.08c
Larger leading edge radius to flatten cp
Bottom surface is cusped near trailing edge
Discourages flow separation over top
Higher maximum lift coefficient
At cl~1 L/D > 50% than NACA 2412
MODERN AIRFOIL SHAPES
Boeing 737

Root Mid-Span Tip

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