How Aerofoil Creates Uplift of Aircraft !

How Aerofoil Creates Uplift of Aircraft !

An animation showing how an Aerofoil creates uplift. Revealing how uplift is created.


An airfoil (American English) or aerofoil (British English) is the shape of a wing, blade (of a propeller, rotor, or turbine), or sail (as seen in cross-section).

An airfoil-shaped body moved through a fluid produces an aerodynamic force. The component of this force perpendicular to the direction of motion is called lift. The component parallel to the direction of motion is called drag. Subsonic flight airfoils have a characteristic shape with a rounded leading edge, followed by a sharp trailing edge, often with a symmetric curvature of upper and lower surfaces. Foils of similar function designed with water as the working fluid are called hydrofoils.

The lift on an airfoil is primarily the result of its angle of attack and shape. When oriented at a suitable angle, the airfoil deflects the oncoming air (for fixed-wing aircraft, a downward force), resulting in a force on the airfoil in the direction opposite to the deflection. This force is known as aerodynamic force and can be resolved into two components: lift and drag. Most foil shapes require a positive angle of attack to generate lift, but cambered airfoils can generate lift at zero angle of attack. This "turning" of the air in the vicinity of the airfoil creates curved streamlines, resulting in lower pressure on one side and higher pressure on the other. This pressure difference is accompanied by a velocity difference, via Bernoulli's principle, so the resulting flowfield about the airfoil has a higher average velocity on the upper surface than on the lower surface. The lift force can be related directly to the average top/bottom velocity difference without computing the pressure by using the concept of circulation and the Kutta-Joukowski theorem.


How does an airfoil work?

In order to meet up at the trailing edge, the molecules going over the top of the wing must travel faster than the molecules moving under the wing. Because the upper flow is faster, then, from Bernoulli's equation, the pressure is lower. The difference in pressure across the airfoil produces the lift.

Why does air travel faster over the wing?

The air entering low pressure area on top of the wing speeds up. The air entering high pressure area on bottom slows down. That is why air on top moves faster. That results in deflection of the air downwards, which is required for generation of lift due to conservation of momentum (which is a true law of physics).


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