3Aerodynamic Fundamentals, Definitions and Aerofoils

3.1 Overview

Any object moving through air interacts with the medium at each point of the wetted (i.e. exposed) surface, creating a pressure field around the aircraft body. An important part of aircraft design is to exploit this pressure field by shaping its geometry to arrive at the desired performance of the vehicle, for example, shaping to generate lifting surfaces, to accommodate payload, to house a suitable engine in the nacelle and to tailor control surfaces. This chapter is concerned with the aerodynamic information required at the conceptual design stage of a new aircraft design project. Also, this chapter covers the necessary details of one of the most important geometries concerning aircraft design, the aerofoil.

Aeronautical engineering schools offer a series of aerodynamic courses, starting with the fundamentals and progressing towards the cutting edge. It is assumed that readers of this book have been exposed to aerodynamic fundamentals. Presented herein is a brief compilation of applied aerodynamics without detailed theory beyond what is necessary. Many excellent textbooks are available in the public domain for reference. Because the subject is so mature, some almost half‐century‐old introductory aerodynamics books still serve the purpose of this course; however, more recent books relate better to current examples. The information in this chapter and carried to the next chapters is essential for designers and must ...

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