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Wing Lift Comparisons - Science Horizons Project

Devin Menge Biology Mrs Sinha Period 5 This project explores the differences in lift between different wing designs, and why those variations occur.

Devin Menge

on 18 March 2012

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Transcript of Wing Lift Comparisons - Science Horizons Project

BACKGROUND RESEARCH I had a lot of background experience that would help me with this project. In elementary school I did two Science Fair Projects that helped expand my knowledge on this topic, and prepared me for this experiment. The first project I conducted dealt with the aerodynamics of parachutes, and how different shapes helped or hindered one’s efforts to slow down one’s descent. Obviously this is very different from observing the way a wing reacts to air currents, but it was relevant nonetheless. My second project helped even more, as it was about testing the distance different paper airplane models could fly. It was in the duration of this project that I thoroughly researched the intricacies of lift, drag, and other components involved in the aerodynamics of a wing, and conducting this experiment helped me to see what plane designs, let alone wing designs, worked the best and the worst. I also found very useful information on the internet, including information comparing and contrasting the Longer Path Theory and Newtonian Explanation. I also found a useful wing simulator, where I was able to shape my own wing for the Charlie and Delta designs. http://science.howstuffworks.com/transport/flight/modern/airplane6.htm
http://amasci.com/wing/rotbal.html BIBLIOGRAPHY Wing Lift Comparisons DATA My father and I used the method described to obtain results for each of our wing designs. As previously stated, the leafblower gave us a range of measurements in each trial, so the average of the two numbers was plotted in the graph. Here are the wings used in the experiment, labeled as Alpha, Beta, Charlie, and Delta. Their names carry over to the corresponding graph. This data shows that Beta and Delta had the best lift of the four. While their abilities seem to be similar, Delta performed better more consistently. This is, of course, comparatively speaking, as both Beta and Delta had very erratic data patterns. In contrast, Charlie had very consistent data, and showed its potential to be around the minimum lift given by the two best wings. Alpha had very low results, and had the worst lift of the group. PROCEDURE MAKING THE WIND TUNNEL The hardest part of this experiment was not in the testing or the presentation, but in constructing my own wind tunnel. Originally, I was going to make my wind tunnel in a round design. A metal tube with an 8-inch diameter was used, and my uncle cut a space in it for a window, and also carved the wings for my project. However, we ran into a few problems with this design. 000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 Here is the revised tunnel built based on the new diagram we discovered. Here one can see the air-conditioner filter being utilized as a baffle. This is another fan that we attempted to use, but it was still not powerful enough. Here are the wings I picked out and my uncle cut and sanded for me. The first problem arose when the corrogated cardboard being used as a baffle proved too thick to let enough air pass through. This was not helped by the fact that the fan my father and I had purchased was too weak to move the wing. Difficulties also arose when attempting to affix a window to the tunnel. The plan was to cut a hole in the tunnel, which my uncle did, and then glue magnets to the edges of a clear plastic window, so that it could be removeable. However, the window could not bend enough to be placed on the tunnel. And lastly, despite the fact that it was polished in an attempt to remove any friction, the rod that was in place to hold the wing would not let it move easily. Thankfully, my father and I came across a model that would solve these problems and be much easier to construct. This is the 220mph leafblower that was utilized when we could not find a fan powerful enough to support the wings. This is the base that holds the wing. It consists of the digital postal scale, a foam base, some yellow putty, and a wooden mount for the wing. Here the base can be seen inside the tunnel with the wing on it. STEP 1 Position scale inside the wind tunnel and set to ounces. STEP 2 Place wing on it in an upside-down position, which should theoretically create a downward push, rather than lift. One person positions themself at the end of the tunnel that the wind is leaving from, in order to read the measurements from the scale. STEP 3 If a strong enough fan cannot be obtained, another person must point a leaf blower into the middle of the tunnel to create a wind current. STEP 4 STEP 5 The leaf blower will be held on for 5 seconds, in which time the other participant will attempt to observe an average range of the fluctuating measurements. CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION My results were more or less consistent with my hypothesis. It was theoretically impossible for Alpha to generate any lift, because the top and bottom surface areas of the wing were equal, however we did gather readings slightly above and below 0. Beta performed well and as expected, giving a good lift result, ranging from around 0.4 to 2 ounces. This was likely due to the large curvature of the wing, and the much larger surface area on the top of the wing when compared to the bottom. Charlie also performed as expected, giving a small amount of lift, but still substantial, due to its curved structure and slim design, which allowed it to be more aerodynamic and reduce drag. Delta did better than I expected. It has a slightly larger surface area on the top than the bottom, but has a curved shape and a slim design, which helps increase lift and reduce drag respectively. PURPOSE The purpose for me conducting this experiment, besides the fact that is holds 30% of my 3rd quarter grade, was to expand my knowledge and understanding of how aircraft fly, and the physics behind it. By performing this, I can evaluate which of my chosen wing designs is most effective, and gives the most lift and has the least amount of drag. Conducting this experiment solves the problem of finding what wing design is most efficient, and provides the most lift and the least drag. This could help a number of people. One example is younger children who are struggling with the concept of lift, drag, thrust, and weight. Seeing the wings that have characteristics that allow them to have a higher lift would greatly help their understanding of the topic. While this specific experiment may not be as helpful, a more advanced version would certainly benefit aircraft designers and other engineers in a similar field. Science Horizons Project Biology Mrs Sinha Period 5 HYPOTHESIS My theory is that wing’s with a larger surface area on the top of the wing and a more curved bottom will have more lift. I base this on the Longer Path Theory and the Newtonian Explanation. The Longer Path Theory is more well known, and states that having a larger surface area on the top of the wing causes the air to travel faster over it. The Newtonian Explanation theorizes that air particles hit the bottom the wing and bounce off, transferring a small amount of energy and nudging the wing upward, giving it lift. Both suggest that the air that flows under the wing will support it, and the air that flows over it much quicker. While these theories have some inconsistencies, they both agree that a larger surface area on the top of the wing and a curved bottom help wings stay aloft. Performing the tests themselves was not difficult. It was a simple process that only involved myself and my father. Mount constructed of foam, putty, and a thin piece of wood MATERIALS Scissors/ razor blade Tape Air conditioner filter/other baffle Wings constructed out of a light wood Digital postal scale Large cardboard box Leafblower Thank you for viewing my presentation! I hope it was informative and enjoyable.
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