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Chapter 5

Incompressible Flow over

Finite Wings

Yanjie Li
Harbin Institute of Technology
Shenzhen Graduate School
Downwash and Induced Drag
Vortex filament, Biot-Savart Law and
Helmholtzs Theorems
Prandtls Classical Lifting-Line Theory
A Numerical Nonlinear Lifting-Line Method
A Question
Are the aerodynamic coefficients of finite
wings the same as those for the airfoil
shape from which the wing is made??


Downwash and Induced Drag(1)
The flow over an airfoil is

The flow over the finite wing is

Downwash and Induced Drag(2)
The leaked flow around the tips creates a
trailing vortex
Downwash and Induced Drag(3)

These wing-tip vortices

of the wing induce a
small velocity
component in the
downward direction,
which is called
Downwash, denoted by

Downwash and Induced Drag(4)
Downwash has two important effects on
the local airfoil section:

Effective angle of attack

Induced drag

The tilting backward of the lift vector

A net pressure imbalance, a type of pressure drag
Road map for Chapter 5
Note: A difference in
L, D, M
cl , cd , cm
L, D , M
CL , CD , CM
Vortex Filament
Curved vortex filament

Curved vortex filament

Straight vortex filament
Biot-Savart Law

Biot-Savart Law:

The Biot-Savart law is a general result of potential theory. The law is

similar to that of electromagnetic fields induced by electrical currents.
Apply Boit-Savart Law to a straight vortex filament

Biot-Savart Law

The direction is

For the semi-infinite vortex filament in Figure 5.10
Helmholtzs Vortex Theorem:

Lift distribution

L( y1 )
L( y2 )
L( y1 ) L( y2 )

y1 y2

New concepts: Washout and Washin

Prandtls Classical Lifting-Line Theory

Replace the finite wing with a bound vortex , a

vortex filament of strength that is somehow
bound to a fixed location in a flow.
Horseshoe vortex
The velocity at any point y along the bound vortex
induced by the trailing semi-infinite vortices

The downwash approach an infinite value at the tips!!

How to solve this problem??

LiftingLine Theory
Replace one single horseshoe vortex by a large number
of horseshoe vortices with a different length of the bound
vortex, but with all the bound vortices coincident with a
single line---- lifting line
An infinite number of horseshoe vortex with a vanishingly
small strength d
Consider an
infinitesimally small
segment of the lifting
line dy located at the
coordinate y .The
circulation at y is ( y. )
The change in
circulation over the
segment dy is

d (d / dy )dy
The velocity dw at y0 induced by the entire semi-infinite trailing vortex
located at y is
Our central problem is to calculate ( y ) for a given finite wing

Thin airfoil

L' q Scl V2 c( y0 )cl V ( y0 )

Lift slope

al equation
of Prandtls
( y0 )
Special Case:
Elliptical Lift Distribution
Circulation distribution given by

( y ) y


0 b / 2

Eq. 4.26
A more useful expression for i

Aspect ratio
The induced drag coefficient

1. Drag due to lift
2. The Induced drag coefficient is inversely
proportional to aspect ratio

Constant Constant

The chord must

vary elliptically
along the span
Elliptical circulation distribution, Elliptical lift distribution, Elliptical platform
Constant downwash
It provides a reasonable approximation for the induced drag coefficient for
an arbitrary finite wing
General Lift Distribution
Consider the transformation the elliptical circulation distribution

A Fourier sine series approximation for general circulation distribution

Differentiating the circulation distribution

Applying the Prandtls lifting-line theory

Ea. (4.26)

The induced drag coefficient
The induced angle of attack

The elliptical lift distribution yields
AR the minimum induced drag
The minimum induced drag
but expensive to manufacture

Not optimum lift distribution

But easy to manufacture

design a taper ratio
A Numerical Nonlinear Lifting-Line Method

The classical Prandtl lifting line theory assumes that a linear variation of
versus .

In fact, It is nonlinear.
Consider the most general case of a finite wing of given platform and geometric
twist, with different airfoil at different spanwise stations. Assume that we have all
the experiment data for the lift curve of the airfoil sections.
A numerical method:

f ( x h1 ) f ( x h2 )
df / dx
h1 h2
Rule Three-point
estimation of
the derivative
Compare the classical solution of Prandtls with the
numerical method. The latter has an excellent
Compare the numerical solution with exiting
experimental data obtained by Univ. of Maryland.
The numerical lift-line solution at high angle of attack
agrees with experiment within 20 percent or much
closer. Therefore the numerical solution gives
reasonable preliminary engineering results for the
high-angle-of-attack region.
However, the flow is three dimensional. The basic
assumptions of lifting-line theory, classical and
numerical cannot properly account for such three
dimensional flow.
To be continued