Aerodynamics in Plain English

Aerodynamics EBook

Several year ago, I wrote a booklet entitled Aerodynamics in Plain English. It is now available as a PDF EBook. Jump to any section to learn about the topic. Aerodynamics in Plain English is the quickest and easiest way to get up to speed with aerodynamics terms and concepts. The PDF EBook (about 50 pages) can be purchased using the following link:

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Aerodynamics in Plain English Topics

The following topics are addressed in Aerodynamics in Plain English:

Basic Concepts
Definition of aerodynamics and fluid dynamics. Find out why aerodynamics is a difficult topic of study.

Forces on an Airplane. Why Does it Fly?
Introduction to forces acting on an airplane. Explanation of the role of the lift, drag, weight and thrust forces as related to flight.

What is Density?
Definition of density; Comparison of air and water densities; The relations between lift, drag and density.

What is Viscosity?
Definition of viscosity; Introduction to the role of viscosity in aerodynamic drag.

What is Compressibility?
Definition of compressibility; Speed of sound definition; Mach number definition; Prandtl-Glauert rule.

What is Pressure?
Definition of pressure; the relations between lift and drag and pressure; conservation laws and pressure.

Non-Dimensional Numbers
Some non-dimensional number in aerodynamics include the lift, drag and moment coefficients in addition to Reynolds number and Mach number.

Reynolds Numbers
Definition and importance of Reynolds number. Table with sample calculations of Reynolds number.

Lift, Drag and Moment Coefficients
Definition and calculation of lift, drag and moment coefficients. Importance of consistent units examined in calculations.

The Wing
Role of different shaped wings; Definition of induced drag; Introduction to tapered, sweptback and delta wings.

How Does a Wing Generate Lift?
The relations between conservation of mass, conservation of momentum, streamlines, Bernoulli equation, pressure and lift are discussed in this section.

How Does a Wing Generate Drag?
This discussion about the generation of profile drag includes the role of boundary layers, transition points, adverse pressure gradients and laminar flow airfoils.

This glossary of terms define the parts of an airfoil and characterize different types of airfoils.

How to Pick Airfoil for Wings
How to use the lift and drag polar plot, the lift and moment versus angle of attack plots to compare airfoils and choose the correct one for your application.

Designing and Testing Airfoils
This section introduces inverse design and airfoil modification concepts for designing airfoils. An overview of experimental and computer testing of airfoils is presented.

Considerations for Builders
Further consideration for builders examine the role of airfoil thickness in the design of wings.

A glossary of several terms in the field of aerodynamics.

Books and software for further exploration of aerodynamics.

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