47 votes
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How do wings generate lift?

To get to the bottom of it, it might help to look at lift at a molecular level: Every air molecule is in a dynamic equilibrium between inertial, pressure and viscous effects: Inertial means that the ...
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36 votes

How do wings generate lift?

Short answer: by exerting a downward force on the air around them. Long answer: Some outreach people at NASA's Glenn Research Center have written up a very good multi-page explanation, dealing ...
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  • 12.5k
30 votes
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Why does this shockwave not touch the body that creates it?

After passing through the shock wave, the air still has to evade the body. If the shock-wave touched the body, the air would have to escape through infinitely thin space at infinitely high pressure ...
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  • 54.1k
23 votes
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Will computational fluid dynamics (CFD) ever be 100% correct?

This is a broad question, hence a broad answer 😃 As high eng CFD now stands, it already is correct enough for, say, 95% of use cases. I am not aware of much utility in modelling complex turbulent ...
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  • 20.8k
21 votes
Accepted

What is the reason for changing the speed reference (IAS or Mach number) with altitude?

Aircraft are limited by both air speed (VMO, affects loads on the structures) and Mach (MMO, formation of shock waves resulting in buffet). At low altitudes, the speed of sound is high so an aircraft ...
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  • 69.7k
16 votes
Accepted

Why do aircraft need Mach number?

Mind you, not all aircraft need one, especially slower piston ones. As you get closer to higher speeds, where compressiblity becomes significant, and you are approaching the speed of sound, the air ...
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  • 7,726
14 votes
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Why do we use dimensionless expressions in flight mechanics and aerodynamics?

Here is a dimensionful equation: $$L = \frac{\rho}{2}\cdot v^2\cdot \frac{2\cdot\pi\cdot b^2}{1+\sqrt{1+\left(\frac{b^2}{2\cdot S}\right)^2}}\cdot\alpha$$ Note that all ingredients are physical, ...
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14 votes

How do wings generate lift?

HOW AN AIRPLANE GENERATES LIFT There are usually two popular fields of thought (excluding the debunked equal time theory) behind why an airplane flies; some think it is caused by an application of ...
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  • 1,162
13 votes
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What are the limitations of the aerodynamics modelling used in flight simulators?

Size matters here. Big aircraft have more inertia and take much longer to respond, but can equal out small-scale turbulence better. Your drone idea for training will not be representative of the big ...
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12 votes

What are the limitations of the aerodynamics modelling used in flight simulators?

There are two aspects to simulation error: the aerodynamic model error and less commonly known, integration algorithm numerical error. Aerodynamic models tend to break down in the transonic and post ...
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12 votes

Why don't we place the engine in the front of the wings?

In addition to the Antonov 72/74's, Boeing worked on the YC-14 concept as a replacement for the C-130's. Also, many seaplanes have to place the engines as far up as possible, to keep the engines and ...
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11 votes

Why are flight simulators bad at predicting drag and lift values at high angles of attack? (the nonlinear flow regime)

Laminar flow is easy. While there is a complete set of differential equations that describes any fluid flow, there is a wealth of simplifications and assumptions that you can use on laminar flow. This ...
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  • 12k
11 votes

Will computational fluid dynamics (CFD) ever be 100% correct?

100% correct, no. That's because CFD (and a great many other computer applications) work on numerical approximations. There's either no exact solution* known, or the exact solution isn't computable. ...
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  • 2,507
10 votes

Why does this shockwave not touch the body that creates it?

In case of an infinestimally thin body in supersonic flow, the disturbances created propogate as Mach waves. However, as the the thickness of the body increases, the flow has to physically turn away ...
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  • 98.4k
9 votes
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Why don't we place the engine in the front of the wings?

They can be, as on the An-72/74, which has the engines mounted above and forward of the wings in part to increase lift, utilizing the Coandă effect. One downside is that this makes access for ...
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  • 2,159
7 votes

Why does this shockwave not touch the body that creates it?

Perhaps, at the root of your question, there is a misunderstanding of the nature of a shock wave. A shock wave is a surface, an ensemble of points, where the properties of the gas change ...
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7 votes
Accepted

How do diffusers turn velocity into pressure?

Warning N°1: I'll avoid energy conservation, but cannot set aside mass conservation obviously. Warning N°2: Both speed and pressure settle in a way that abides the laws of physics. It's not like one ...
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  • 758
7 votes

How do wings generate lift?

The simplest answer that I know that is that is still accurate is that for any object to move through the air, some force must push the air in front of it out of the way (gravity, engines, momentum ...
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7 votes

How do aircraft engine manufacturers achieve a higher bypass ratio while still meeting the thrust requirements for a given aircraft?

Early turbojets were so inefficient that adding a fan was considered but not implemented because that would had made the engines even more sluggish and narrowed the operating limits even more. If you ...
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7 votes

Does the Reynolds number on a smaller model need to match the one of the original aircraft?

In wind tunnel testing you need to match several similarity parameters; the most well known are the Reynolds number and the Mach number. Since the Reynolds number depends on flow speed, viscosity and ...
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7 votes

Will computational fluid dynamics (CFD) ever be 100% correct?

First, the Millennium Challenge asks about the existence and uniqueness of a solution to the Navier-Stokes (NS) equations given any compatible initial/boundary conditions. This question is of ...
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  • 10.8k
6 votes

How do wings generate lift?

Wings generate lift pushing air downwards. As a kid I used to stick my hand out of the open car window and tilt it - there is an upward force. A flat plate does this. So aircraft wings could be flat ...
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  • 57.7k
6 votes

How do diffusers turn velocity into pressure?

While we wait for a probably better answer, here's my tentative. You state that you understand the concept of constant mass flow. Let's for a moment write the mass flow properly: $$\dot{m} = \rho A ...
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  • 31.5k
6 votes
Accepted

What does the NCrit parameter indicate in a CFD analysis?

The whole setting group is called transition settings, and refers to the boundary layer transition point (from laminar to turbulent). The forced transition trip locations are exactly that, expressed ...
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6 votes
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What is boundary layer tripping?

Tripping the boundary layer refers to the action of artificially transitioning a laminar boundary layer into a turbulent one. It can happen intentionally (via turbulator) or unintentionally (via ...
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  • 10.8k
5 votes
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What are the mass flow rate and exhaust velocity for a CF6 or GE90 turbofan?

According to The GE90 - An Introduction, the GE90 has a mass flow rate of 1,350 kg/s at take-off and 576 kg/s at cruise (at 10.668 km = FL350). The CF6 has a mass flow rate of 591 kg/s at take-off. ...
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  • 546
5 votes

Does the airflow from a propeller over a wing contribute to lift?

A propeller not affecting the velocity of the free stream air would not generate any thrust (or drag), as the propeller works by the principle of creating thrust by accelerating a large mass of air, $...
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  • 2,990
5 votes

How do wings generate lift?

Here is a link to John S. Denker's web book on airfoils. This is probably the definitive explanation of how wings work. John Denker has a bunch of websites worth checking out. http://www.av8n.com/how/...
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  • 1,614
5 votes

In turbojet engines, does the fan play a key role in the air intake to the inlet?

In turbojet there is no fan. Very simply, turbofan means turbojet + fan in front connected to the LP shaft.
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