Michael Reid


Previous micro-air vehicle research has addressed thin/cambered/reflexed airfoils on an application specific basis, relying heavily on the shape characteristics of previously designed airfoils. The motivation of the current research is to determine the relationship that exists between thin/cambered/reflexed airfoil performance and the defining airfoil shape parameters to improve future airfoil designs. An emphasis is placed on the effect each airfoil shape parameter has on the overall airfoil performance and the effect of the interdependence of each shape parameter. Maximum coefficient of lift, stall angle of attack, maximum coefficient of lift/coefficient of drag and the angle of attack at which it occurs are found for a variety of thin/cambered/reflexed airfoils and a number of correlations between changes in shape parameters and airfoil performance are established. Changes in C and xC cause a 40% variation of Cl,max and 40% variation of astall. Changes in R and xR cause a 15% variation of Cl,max with no significant variation in astall. Changes in C and xC cause a 30% variation of Cl/Cd,max and 50% variation of aCl/Cd,max. Changes in R and xR cause a 20% variation of Cl/Cd,max. Airfoil performance is determined using XFOIL, a two dimensional analysis code designed specifically to address airfoil boundary layer behavior at low Reynolds numbers. A comparison of XFOIL results and known wind tunnel data is presented as validation of the analysis code in addition to previously published validation studies. Wind tunnel testing performed in Rochester Institute of Technology’s closed circuit low speed wind tunnel is presented for a small subset of the airfoils analyzed as a comparison of the experimental and analytic boundary layer behavior. The results showed good correlation between XFOIL predictions and wind tunnel results for Bezier airfoils with camber less than 7%.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Aerofoils--Design and construction; Aerofoils--Aerodynamics; Aerofoils--Testing; Camber (Aerofoils)

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

Mechanical Engineering (KGCOE)


Kozak, Jeffery - Chair

Advisor/Committee Member

Crassidis, Agamemnon

Advisor/Committee Member

Kochersberger, Kevin


Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works. Physical copy available through RIT's The Wallace Library at: TL574.A4 R44 2006


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