How planes stay up: the classical theory of lift on fixed wings

Statistical Physics and Complexity Group meeting

How planes stay up: the classical theory of lift on fixed wings

  • Event time: 11:30am
  • Event date: 14th May 2014
  • Speaker: (School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Edinburgh)
  • Location: Room 2511,

Event details

The origin of lift and drag in steady state flows are not commonly covered in university fluid dynamics courses, although the underlying theory is still in use in aeronautical engineering, and rather beautiful: many of the core ideas appear also in treatments of phase transitions in superfluid films, in particular the concept of puncturing domains to represent failures of strict potential flow. We will present a detailed derivation of the Kutta-Joukowski theorem, the centrepiece of the theory, and an extended discussion of the physical relevance and domain of validity. Time permitting, we may also discuss the case of the idealised wing's interaction with vortices downstream and the resolution of d'Alembert's paradox.