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Aren’t there already plenty of excellent books on the topic of CFD? Yes, there are … if you are a graduate student who wants to learn the intricacies of numerical methods applied to solving the fundamental equations of fluid dynamics. However, we believe that a paradigm shift has taken place in CFD, where the development of algorithms and codes has largely been replaced by people applying well-established codes to real-world applications. While this is a natural progression in any field of science and engineering, we do not believe that the paradigm shift has filtered into the academic world. In academia, undergraduates learning about aerodynamics are still going through theories and applications that were being taught 40 or 50 years ago. We believe that it is time to write a book for people who want to be “intelligent users” of CA, not for those who want to continue developing CA tools. We strongly endorse the perspective of David Darmofal and Earll Murman of MIT (see AIAA Paper 2001–0870):
Within aerodynamics, the need for re-engineering the traditional curriculum is critical. Industry, government, and (to some extent) academia has seen a significant shift away from engineering science and highly specialized research-oriented personnel toward product development and systems-thinking personnel. While technical expertise in aerodynamics is required, it plays a less critical role in the design of aircraft than in previous generations. In addition to these influences, aerodynamics has been revolutionized by the development and maturation of computational methods. These factors cast significant doubt that a traditional aerodynamics curriculum with its largely theoretical approach remains the most effective education for the next generation of aerospace engineers. We believe that change is in order.
We agree completely and believe that CA needs to be brought into the undergraduate classroom as soon as possible. That is why we have written this book!
The target audience for Applied Computational Aerodynamics is advanced undergraduates in aerospace engineering who want (or need) to learn CA in the broad context of learning to do computational investigations, while also learning engineering methods and aerodynamics. In addition, we believe that working engineers who need to apply CA methods, but who have no CA background, will also find the book valuable.
Some sources of aerodynamic geometry and experimental data for use in code evaluation are listed here. They are invaluable for making sure that you are using a computational aerodynamics code correctly. Always check a code that is new to you against known results, which we already discussed in Chapter 2. Note that rigorous validation of codes requires very careful analysis and an understanding of possible experimental, as well as computational, error (which was also discussed in Chapter 10). Most of the NASA and NACA reports cited here are available from the NASA Technical Reports Server, http://ntrs.nasa.gov/; a mirror website for NACA reports is available from Cranfield University at http://naca.central.cranfield.ac.uk/. Some of the reports listed here will also be provided at the book website: http://www.cambridge.org/aerodynamics. Most of the results are presented graphically, so a utility such as DataThief or Engauge is needed to digitize the data for comparison with calculations.
Abbott, I.H. and von Doenhoff, A.E., Theory of Airfoil Sections, New York: Dover, 1959: This is a book every aerodynamicist should have. Look in the references for the original NACA airfoil reports. The aerodynamic descriptions contained in the reports are unsurpassed. However, beware of the actual data presented prior to 1939, which is when they discovered that they had to apply a different support interference correction to the measured results (see NACA Report 669 by Jacobs for details). Note that pressure distributions for airfoils are fairly rare. See also NACA Report 824, which is an earlier compendium similar to this book.
Aerodynamicists control the flowfield through geometry definition and are always interested in possible geometric shapes that would be useful in design. This appendix provides the detailed definition of many of the classic shapes frequently specified in aerodynamics. It is not intended to be encyclopedic, but will provide a good starting point for where to obtain geometric definitions for aerodynamic shapes.
The NACA Airfoils
The NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) airfoils were designed during the period from 1929 through 1947 under the direction of Eastman Jacobs at the NACA’s Langley Field Laboratory (now NASA Langley Research Center). Most of the airfoils were based on simple geometrical descriptions of the section shape, although the 6 and 6A series were developed using theoretical analysis and don’t have simple shape definitions. Although a new generation of airfoils has emerged as a result of improved understanding of airfoil performance and the ability to design new airfoils using computational methods, the NACA airfoils are still useful in many aerodynamic design applications. A number of references have been included to allow the reader to study both the older NACA literature and the new airfoil design ideas. Taken together, this literature provides a means of obtaining a rather complete understanding of the ways in which airfoils can be shaped to obtain desired performance characteristics.
Several types of programs are used to provide insight into aerodynamics, such as airfoil, wing, and aircraft analysis, as well as various aerodynamic design programs. The number of programs available has grown a great deal over the past few years, and a number of the programs have been discussed in Chapters 2 and 5 especially. This appendix will list and describe some of the programs that are either available from the book website (www.cambridge.org/aerodynamics) or that could be used to complete various projects listed at the end of chapters in the book. In this section we will just list and briefly describe some of the programs:
FOILGEN; provides ordinates for NACA 4-digit, 4-digit modified and 5-digit airfoils
LADSON; provides ordinates for NACA 6- and 6A-series airfoils
PANELV2: an airfoil panel method
THINFOIL; an airfoil CFD program
LIDRAG: a lift-induced drag program
LAMDES; a program that finds wing camber and twist to obtain a given splanload
FRICTION; a skin friction and form drag estimation program
VLMpc; a two-surface vortex lattice program
DESCAM; an inverse design airfoil program
TRIDAG; the Thomas algorithm solution approach for a tridiagonal matrix
This program is used for airfoil geometry generation. For airfoils with analytically defined ordinates, this program produces airfoil definition data sets in the format required for PANELV2. This includes NACA 4-digit, 4-digit modified and 5-digit airfoils. In addition, the NACA 6 and 6A camber lines are available. The user can combine any combination of thickness and camber lines available within these shapes. This provides a wide range of airfoil definitions. The program runs interactively, and a sample session, with inputs and outputs, is provided at www.cambridge.org/aerodynamics.
This computational aerodynamics textbook is written at the undergraduate level, based on years of teaching focused on developing the engineering skills required to become an intelligent user of aerodynamic codes. This is done by taking advantage of CA codes that are now available and doing projects to learn the basic numerical and aerodynamic concepts required. This book includes a number of unique features to make studying computational aerodynamics more enjoyable. These include:• The computer programs used in the book's projects are all open source and accessible to students and practicing engineers alike on the book's website, www.cambridge.org/aerodynamics. The site includes access to images, movies, programs, and more• The computational aerodynamics concepts are given relevance by CA Concept Boxes integrated into the chapters to provide realistic asides to the concepts• Readers can see fluids in motion with the Flow Visualization Boxes carefully integrated into the text.