I previously asked a question about progress in improving the characteristics of supercritical airfoils. The basic supercritical airfoil design was created in the early 1970s by Richard Whitcomb. I was curious in understanding whether the airfoils of ~1990 and beyond, because they were designed using much more advanced CFD tools than Whitcomb's sections were designed with, were improved in performance, despite embodying the basic supercritical ideas (which were, generate a region of supersonic lift, weaken the shock wave, move it to the rear, generate lift from the aft using increased camber).

I found an interesting set of images that I thought the community would appreciate which speaks to my question.

enter image description here enter image description here

You can clearly see how, in tandem with increasing complexity of CFD codes, the pressure distributions associated with the outboard sections of the wings became more aggressive. The shocks became weaker and they were pushed from 40% of chord to around 55% of chord.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ You should add this as an answer to your original question. Answering your own questions is perfectly fine. $\endgroup$
    – Pilothead
    Jul 23, 2022 at 0:27
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I'm going to VTC as a duplicate of your previous question so it will point over there. Pilothead is right that you should make this an answer to the other question. $\endgroup$
    – TomMcW
    Jul 23, 2022 at 1:54
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Would you please share the source of those images? $\endgroup$ Jul 23, 2022 at 6:49
  • $\begingroup$ As I understood the really big improvement for the later generation of supercritical airfoils was to tame the stall behaviour. The early ones suffer from vicious leading edge stall due to a laminar separation bubble that forms. The aerodynamic stall starts at the LE and spreads to the entire wing immediately. Airplanes typically require stick pushers to preclude aerodynamic stall from occurring. $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Jul 24, 2022 at 0:28


Browse other questions tagged .