

Turbulence Modeling and Wing Design
Name: Kosta
Status: student
Grade: 912
Location: CA
Country: USA
Date: Winter 20112012
Question:
I am currently experimenting with different wing designs and a wind tunnel. I found a rigorous text on turbulence modeling which caught my interest and am considering studying it. Would knowing turbulence modeling help in aircraft wing design?
Replies:
Kosta
Turbulence increases the drag on a wing which reduces its performance to produce lift.
Turbulence modeling allows you to predict the level of turbulence a wing design will encounter.
The goal is to achieve laminar air flow over the wing for the least amount of drag and the most amount of lift for the given airspeed.
Sincere regards,
Mike Stewart
Kosta
Turbulence increases the drag on a wing which reduces its performance to produce lift.
Turbulence modeling allows you to predict the level of turbulence a wing design will encounter.
The goal is to achieve laminar air flow over the wing for the least amount of drag and the most amount of lift for the given airspeed.
Sincere regards,
Mike Stewart
I am sure it would, but be ready for some heavy duty math. Turbulence is some systems is solved numerically, that is, no “formulas”. In some other cases the problem has not even been solved.
Vince Calder
\
Emphatically yes!
It turns out, turbulence is extremely important in aerodynamic (lift
and drag  but especially drag). And unfortunately, turbulence is
very poorly understood in fundamental terms. Thus, empirical
(computational) fluid dynamics models are critical tools.
Just as a couple small examples, you might have noticed little fins on
a variety of aircraft 
from F16s
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/13/F16Isufa001.jpg/800pxF16Isufa001.jpg)
 look right in front of the cockpit canopy.
to B777s
(http://pictures.topspeed.com/IMG/crop/201005/boeing777freighter8_460x0w.jpg)
 look right where the engine meets the wing.
These fins are not control surfaces, and they are not for lift. They
guide air over the aircraft to keep in laminar and avoid turbulence.
The way these fins are designed is with computational fluid dynamics
(turbulence) models.
Looking ahead, if you're interested in a career in aerodynamics, I
think modeling will likely be in your future...
Hope this helps,
Burr Zimmerman
Click here to return to the Engineering Archives
 
Update: June 2012

