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Introduction to Conformal Mapping in Aerodynamics

Introduction Conformal mapping is a method used to extend the application of potential flow theory to practical aerodynamics. Standard potential flow theory begins with an ideal flow to show that lift on a body is proportional to the circulation about a closed path encompassing an object. Potential flows start with flows over cylinders since the mathematics is more tractable. However, to use potential flow theory on usable airfoils one must rely on conformal mapping to show a relation between realistic airfoil shapes and the knowledge gained from flow about cylinders. 'ift # )


Brief review of complex numbers: Conformal mapping relies entirely on complex mathematics. herefore, a brief review is undertaken at this point. ! complex number z is a sum of a real and imaginary part" z # real $ iimaginary he term i, refers to the complex number
i = *,

i = *,

i = i,

so that" Complex numbers can be presented in a graphical format. %f the real portion of a complex number is taken as the abscissa, and the imaginary portion as the ordinate, a two& dimensional plane is formed. z = real + iimaginary = x + iy
y, imaginary

i =*

x, real

! complex number can be written in polar form using .uler/s e0uation" z = x + iy = rei = r(cos + isin) where r2 = x2 + y2

Complex multiplication1 z1z2 = (x1+iy1)(x2+iy2) = (x1x2 - y1y2) + i(x1y2 + y1x2)

= r*e

i *

r- e

i -

= r* r- e

i 3* + - 6

Complex representation of potential flows he basic flows used in potential flow theory such as uniform flow, source, sink, doublet and vortex, can all be represented using complex numbers. 2or example, if a complex number w with both real and imaginary parts represents a potential flow, then the form of the number is" w(z) = + i # 3velocity potential) + i(stream function) Here, both velocity potential and stream function are themselves complex numbers. !s an example, the uniform flow can be written" 4niform flow1 w(z) = Vz = + i = V(x+iy) = Vx + Vy as seen previously, Source flow1
i ln3 z 6 = + i = ln3re 6 = 3ln3r 6 + i 6 = ln3r 6 + i - - - - -

= Vx = V rcos

= Vy = V rsin

(ortex flow1
i ln3 z 6 = + i = i ln3re 6 = i 3ln3r 6 + i 6 = + i ln3r 6 - - - - -

5oublet flow1
w= k * k * k * i k * = + i = = 3cos i sin 6 e = i - z - re - r - r

%n complex terms the flow past a cylinder with lift is written1

w3 z 6 = V z + z + i - ln3 z 6

(elocity Components1 7hen a potential flow is represented in complex form, the velocity components can be found using one of two methods" *. 8e&write the expression from the complex variable z form into its separate real and complex components. he form of this expression will be w # $ i! he individual velocity components are found by completing the appropriate differentiation on or ! to obtain u or v. !s an example consider the complex form of the source flow"
w = ln3 z 6 = + i = ln3r 6 + i - - - Vr = = V = =9 r -r

-. !n alternative method would be to differentiate on the complex expression directly and then separate the real and complex portions to obtain the velocity components according to" "w = u iv "z Conformal :apping ! conformal mapping is performed through the transformation of a complex function from one coordinate system to another. ! transformation function is applied to the original function to perform the mapping. 2or aerodynamics applications the ;oukowski transform is the most commonly used function"
w=z+ # z

Here, # is a constant. <raphically, a conformal mapping will transform a complex plane in z 3z = x+iy6 into a complex plane in a new variable w 3w # +i6. > plane y # =* # =, # C* # C # C, x # =,

w plane # C # C,

%n the diagram a uniform flow in the z plane is transformed into an e0uivalent form in the w plane using a transform of the form w # f(z). !s an example consider a circle drawn in the z plane, z = #ei! he ;oukowski transform maps the circle into a flat plate, w=z+ # z
w = #ei + # i = #ei + #e i = -# cos3 6 + i9 #e

> plane b x

w plane

w= z+# z



! circle of radius # is mapped into a straight line in the w plane entirely on the real axis between &-# and -#. %f a uniform flow had been drawn over the circle, the transform would have mapped that flow into the flow over a flat plate in the w plane. %f the circle originally had a radius slightly larger than the transform constant #, z = aei, with a ? #, the circle would have formed an ellipse instead of the flat plate.
w = z + # = aei + # i = a + # cos3 6 + i a # sin3 6 = x + iy z a a ae

7hich can be written,

x #- a + a

y #- a a




%f the flow over a cylinder had been transformed it would have created the flow over an ellipse. ;oukowski !irfoils 2rom and aerodynamics point of view, the most interesting application of the ;oukowski transform is to an offset circle. %f we consider a circle slightly offset from the origin along the negative real axis, one obtains a symmetric ;oukowski airfoil.
y a > plane w plane

w= z+# z
eb b x



he e0uation of the offset circle is z # aei-e# where the constant e is a small number. %f the cylinder is displaced slightly along the complex axis as well, one obtains a cambered airfoil shape.
a ! eb b y > plane w plane

@ x

w= z+# z !

@ -b

Here, the points $ and % are the intercepts of the displaced circle on the real axis and their corresponding points in the transformed plane. he angle is the angle formed by the line joining the point $ 3or %) and the origin with the real axis. %f lifting flow about the original circle had been imposed, the ;oukowski transformation would have generated a lifting flow about the ;oukowski airfoil"
y > plane w plane

w= z+# z

!lthough such a flow is mathematically possible, in reality it may not be realistic. he stagnation points on the cylinder map to stagnation points that are not always realistic. 2or instance the stagnation point on the top surface of the airfoil cannot exist is steady flight since the velocity would tend to infinity as one moves very close to the trialing edge. he only means of making a realistic flow is to impose the =utta condition where the stagnation point is forced to exist at the trailing edge thus making the streamlines flow smoothly from this point. his is done by adjusting the value of vorticity strength , such that the stagnation points on the cylinder reside at the cylinderAs intercepts of the real axis. %n this case, when the cylinder is transformed, one stagnation point will be forced to the trailing edge.
y > plane w plane

w= z+# z

he lift force generated by the lifting flow over the cylinder is proportional to the circulation about the cylinder imposed by the added vortex flow according to the =utta& ;oukowski relation, &' = V . he lifting force on the resulting ;oukowski airfoil is not clear. o evaluate the lift, the circulation is needed and therefore the velocity field. he velocity fields in each plane can be related to each other through the chain rule of differentiation. %f the lifting flow about the cylinder is defined as function ( where ( = ((z) in the z plane and ( = ((w) in the w plane, the velocities in each plane are"

Vz =

( z

Vw =

( w

@y chain rule1

( ( w = z w z

Vz =Vw w z

4sing the ;oukowski transformation"

w = z - # z zClearly, the velocity field very close to the cylinder and its transformed counterpart are dissimilar as one would expect. However, farther away from these objects the velocity fields become identical as the magnitude of z becomes larger than the constant value of #. Since the circulation can be calculated about any closed path, including paths very far from the object surface, the circulations must be the same in both planes.
V V cylin"er = )oukowski

(ortex strength he appropriate vortex strength to impose the =utta condition must be determined. Consider the lifting flow about a cylinder. he velocity in the direction is, V = -V sin3 6 + - Here, is the radius of the cylinder surface. his velocity is >ero on the surface of the cylinder at the stagnation points. !t the these points =-.
9 = -V sin3 6 -
= + V sin3 6

y > plane

& x

%f the field is rotated by to simulate an angle of attack,

= + V sin3 +6

Since the cord length of the ;oukowski airfoil is +#, the lift coefficient can be written, *& = & =

* V -c -

* V - +# -

= +V sin3 + 6 -V # -V #

:aking the assumption that # ,

*& = - sin3 + 6 - 3 + 6

.xample ! ;oukowski airfoil is formed by displacing a circle of radius * by x # &9.9B 3real axis6 and y # 9.9C 3imaginary axis6. 2ind, a6 (ortex strength if # 9o, and V = *9 mDs b6 *& at # 9o and # *9o y

cylinder x stagnation point

9.9C = -.BE+ = sin * *

9.9C &9.9B

tan3-.BE+ 6 =

9.9C 9.9B + #

# # 9.F*BE a6 = +V sin(+) # +3*96

3*6sin3-.BE6 # G.-B,* b6 *& = -sin3-.BE6 # 9.,*+*C *& = -sin3*9 $ -.BE6 # *.+9