## Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge Principles of Flight Airfoil Design

 Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge Preface Acknowledgements Appendix Glossary Index Applying Bernoulli's Principle of Pressure, the increase in the speed of the air across the top of an airfoil produces a drop in pressure. This lowered pressure is a component of total lift. The pressure difference between the upper and lower surface of a wing alone does not account for the total lift force produced. The downward backward flow from the top surface of an airfoil creates a downwash. This downwash meets the flow from the bottom of the airfoil at the trailing edge. Applying Newton's third law, the reaction of this downward backward flow results in an upward forward force on the airfoil. High Pressure Below A certain amount of lift is generated by pressure conditions underneath the airfoil. Because of the manner in which air flows underneath the airfoil, a positive pressure results, particularly at higher angles of attack. But there is another aspect to this airflow that must be considered. At a point close to the leading edge, the airflow is virtually stopped (stagnation point) and then gradually increases speed. At some point near the trailing edge, it again reaches a velocity equal to that on the upper surface. In conformance with Bernoulli's principle, where the airflow was slowed beneath the airfoil, a positive upward pressure was created i.e., as the fluid speed decreases, the pressure must increase. Since the pressure differential between the upper and lower surface of the airfoil increases, total lift increases. Both Bernoulli's Principle and Newton's Laws are in operation whenever lift is being generated by an airfoil. Pressure Distribution From experiments conducted on wind tunnel models and on full size airplanes, it has been determined that as air flows along the surface of a wing at different angles of attack, there are regions along the surface where the pressure is negative, or less than atmospheric, and regions where the pressure is positive, or greater than atmospheric. This negative pressure on the upper surface creates a relatively larger force on the wing than is caused by the positive pressure resulting from the air striking the lower wing surface. Figure 3-8 shows the pressure distribution along an airfoil at three different angles of attack. The average of the pressure variation for any given angle of attack is referred to as the center of pressure (CP). Aerodynamic force acts through this CP. At high angles of attack, the CP moves forward, while at low angles of attack the CP moves aft. In the design of wing structures, this CP travel is very important, since it affects the position of the air loads imposed on the wing structure in both low and high AOA conditions. An airplane's aerodynamic balance and controllability are governed by changes in the CP. Figure 3-8. Pressure distribution on an airfoil and CP changes with AOA.

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