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Shape of the Airfoil

 The shape of the Airfoil

  • Individual airfoil section properties differ from those properties of the wing or aircraft as a whole because of the effect of the wing planform.
  •  A wing may have various airfoil sections from root to tip, with taper, twist, and sweepback.
  • The resulting aerodynamic properties of the wing are determined by the action of each section along the span.
  • The shape of the airfoil determines the amount of turbulence or skin friction that it produces, consequently affecting the efficiency of the wing.
  •  Turbulence and skin friction are controlled mainly by the fineness ratio, which is defined as the ratio of the chord of the airfoil to the maximum thickness.
  •  If the wing has a high fineness ratio, it is a very thin wing.
  •  A thick wing has a low fineness ratio. A wing with a high fineness ratio produces a large amount of skin friction.
  •  A wing with a low fineness ratio produces a large amount of turbulence. The best wing is a compromise between these two extremes to hold both turbulence and skin friction to a minimum.


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