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UNSTEADYINCOMPRESIBLEFLOWABOUTANAIRFOIL
Whydon'tweworryabouttheairfoilwakeinsteadypotentialflow?Theansweristhatthereisnonetvorticity
insuchawake,asshowninthefigurebelow.Thereisaregionofmomentumdeficitformedastheboundary
layersfromthetopandbottomsurfacesmerge,andifyougoinsidethisregionyouwillcertainlyexperience
shearandhencevorticity.However,lookingfromoutsidethisregion,weseethatthereisnonetvorticityinthe
wake,sincethesenseofrotationoftheupperandlowerpartsofthewakeareopposite.

Inthecaseoftheairfoilsuddenlychangingcirculation,shownbelowthesteadyflowfigure,thewakeindeed
hasanetvorticity,whichmakesitrollupinto"startingvortex".Inthiscase,wecanimaginethatthebottompart
ofthewakehasahighervelocitythanthetop,sothatitcurlsaround.



Whathappenswhenthereisasuddenchangeintheangleofattackoftheairfoil?
Thedownstreamstagnationpointstaysatthetrailingedge(seeNote1below).Thus,theboundcirculation
changesfrom to .Netvorticityisnowseenacrossthewake(seeNote2below).Thewakerollsupintoa
"startingvortex"ofstrength ,whichconvectsat .

Note1:Hereweassumethatthereisnotimelagintheresponseof toangleofattacka.Thisbreaksdown
whenwetrytoexplaindynamicliftphenomenaathighanglesofattackandveryhighratesofpitchin
incompressibleflow.Itisalsoinadequateincompressibleflow,wherethefreestreamvelocityisofthesame
orderofmagnitudeasthespeedofsound.
Note2:Wheredoesthevorticitycomefrom?
Fromdissipationofflowkineticenergyintheboundarylayer,duetoviscouseffects,andtheresultinglossin
momentum.Itisassociatedwithadropinstagnationpressureintheboundarylayer,andanincreaseinentropy.

UnsteadyEffectsonLiftPerUnitSpan

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Thesteadystateliftperunitspanis:

Thisisalso:
Thequasisteadyliftchangeduetochangeinangleofattack(or,changeinboundcirculation)is:

.Notethatfromnowon,whenwespeakof"lift",wemean"changeinlift
duetochangein..".Thereisalwaysasteadystatelifttermtoberememberedwhenthefinalansweris
calculated.
Theaspectofinteresthereisthetimevariationoftheliftchangeterm.
AsseenfromKelvin'stheorem,whentheboundvorticitychanges,andequalandoppositeamountof
vorticitymustbeshedintothewake.Theshedvorticityinthewakeinducesvelocityattheairfoil(ascanbe
calculatedusingtheBiotSavartLaw),opposingtheeffectofthequasisteadyliftchange.This"liftdeficiency"
effectdecaysastheshedvortexmovesdownstream.Thisisseeninthefigurebelow.

AconvenientdescriptionofthiswakeinducedliftlosshasbeendevelopedbyTheodorsen(1935)forsimple
harmonicmotionofathinairfoilinauniformflow.TheReducedFrequencyofthemotionisrepresentedas:

.Thewakeinducedliftlosscanberepresentedasacomplexfunctionofk,C(k)=F(k)+iG(k)
Reference:Theodorsen,Theodore,"GeneralTheoryofAerodynamicInstabilityandtheMechanismofFlutter".
N.A.C.A.TechnicalReportNo.496,Washington,DC,1935.

ApparentMassEffect
Whenyoupushagainstair,youhavetopayfortheaccelerationoftheair.Themassofairbeingacceleratedby
motionoftheairfoil,perpendiculartoitschord,isestimatedasthemassofairwithinthecircularcylinderwhose

diameteristhechord.Thus,
Thisiscalled"noncirculatorylift",sinceithasnothingtodowithvorticity.Also,notethatthefreesream
velocitydoesnotappearintheaboveexpression:Thenoncirculatorylifttermcanexistevenwhenthe
freestreamvelocityiszero!Thisisimportantwhenconsideringtheabilityofinsectstohover.Let'sconsiderthe
phaseofthisliftwithrespecttothemotionoftheairfoil.
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Considersimpleharmonicverticalmotionofanairfoil. describesthedisplacementz(t).

isthevelocity.Thisis90degreesoutofphasewiththedisplacement. isthe
acceleration.Thisis90degreesoutofphasewithvelocity,and180degreesoutofphasewithdisplacement.
Thusthenoncirculatoryliftis180degreesoutofphasewiththedisplacement.Thesecanbeexpressedalsoas
follows:

where
Thus,totalliftperunitspanisgivenby:
forsimpleharmonicmotion.
or, .Thequantitywithinparenthesesiscalledthe"circulatorylift"term
(notethatthesteadystateliftisalsocirculatory,butherethediscussionisaboutthecomponentsofthetime
varyinglift.

Thus,thetimevarying"circulatorylift"isgivenas:
forsmallamplitude,simpleharmonicmotionofathinairfoilinsteadyflow.
(Rememberthatweshouldaddthesteadylifttogetthetotallift)


As (quasisteadylimit), .
As , .ThisfunctionC(k)istabulated,andiscalledtheTheodorsenLiftDeficiencyFunction.

Forsmallk,anapproximationofthetabulatedfunctionis: where .
Thisis"Euler'sconstant".Seethelinkedgraphforacomparisonoftheapproximateexpressionwiththe
tabulaedfunction.

Resultsforotherkindsofmotioncanbederivedconvenientlyfromthisbasis.Forexample,
(a)continuousmotionscanbesynthesizedasFourierseriesofsimpleharmonicmotionsatdifferentfrequencies.
(b)theresponsetoanimpulsiveairfoilmotioninsteadyflowcanbecalculatedusingtheWagnerfunction,
whosecalculationincludestheTheodorsenfunction.
(c)theKussnerfunctionisusedtocalculateairfoilresponseinanunsteadyfreestream(note:thisisnotthesame
asunsteadyairfoilmotioninsteadyflow).
Inthefollowing,weincludeaperspectiveonthederivationofthetimevaryinglift,usingtheTheodorsen
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functionandtheapparentmass.Thistouchesuponsomeoftheessentialfeaturesofairfoilaerodynamics,but
doesnotgointothedetailed,explicitderivationoftheTheodorsenfunction

SmallAmplitudeOscillationsofaThinAirfoilinaSteadyFlow
Reference:KatzandPlotkin,p.453

Assumethatthe(x,z)frameofreferencemovestotheleftataconstantspeed .Thetime
dependentpositionofthechordisrepresentedbyverticaldisplacementh(t),positiveinthe+zdirection,andby
thetimevaryingpitchangle ,pitchingaboutanaxisthroughthechordat .Thechordlineisthen
representedby

.Theframe(x,z)doesnotrotate.Smallamplitudemotionisintroducedthrough or ,

where .Then

Thedownwash(bythesurfaceboundarycondition,seeNoteA)is:

where isthewakeeffect.Thiscanalsobewrittenas:

.Obviously,

.Usingthetransformation fromthinairfoiltheory,

Fromthinairfoiltheory,wecansubstitutefor andgetcoefficientsAn:(seeNoteA2)

where forn=0,and

forn=1,2,3......

Here, and forn>2



Circulationduetodownwashw*is(fromthinairfoiltheory,seeNoteA3)

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sothat .
Liftperunitspan

where isthesteadypart.

NOTEA1:

Theairfoilsurfaceboundaryconditionis whereB(x,y,z,t)=0describesthesurface.IfB(x,y,z,t)is

expressedas ,weget ,etc.

Fromthedefinition weget
Now,forpitchplungemotion,

.Thus,

NOTEA2:CarlemanSchwarzInversion
Inthefollowing,thenomenclatureusedisfromtheoldbooksonunsteadyaerodynamics.Thequantitybis
semichord,equivalenttoc/2.Thecoordinatereferencex=0isatmidchord.Theleadingedgeisatx=b,and
thetrailingedgeat+b.Thenormalvelocityatthesurfacecomesfrom3sources:

wb,theinducedvelocityoftheboundvortexsheetdistribution,
wa,thesurfacemotion,and
l,thewakeinducedvelocity.

Thus, .UsingtheBiotSavartLaw,

.Theintegralequationtobesolvedisthus: .Thiscanbeinverted
usingtheCarlemanSchwarzinversion:

.Thissatisfiestheconditionsof atx=b,andissingularattheleading
edge,asrequiredbytheinversionformula.
Substitute
.Assumethatthewakeinducedvelocityandthebodysurfacemotioncanberepresentedbyseries:

and .Substituting,

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Note: .Usingthese,

Usetheintegrals:

fornotherthanzero,and foralln.

.
Substituting,weget

Note: ,sothat:

where forn=0,and for


Fromtheabove,notethat:



NOTEA3:

Circulationdueto :

.Thethirdtermiszero,leaving

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