With the downloaded version, you can run the program off-line and do not
have to be connected to the Internet.
You can also investigate the role of aerodynamics in
pitching a baseball by using another interactive
Java Applet called
Elementary Version - FoilSimE
There is a special
version of FoilSim
for elementary students who are just beginning to learn
about wings and airfoils.
This version only lets you change the speed, altitude, angle, camber,
thickness, and area of the wing.
Your only output is the lift in English units.
Undergraduate Version - FoilSimU
There are special
versions of FoilSim
for undergraduate students who are studying computational modeling
of airfoil problems.
These versions let you change some of the assumptions in the analysis
and have additional graphics to view the
details of the analysis. There
are on-line and off-line applet versions of the program and an off-line
application version. With the application version, you can save your results to
a file for printing.
To run the application version, you must
have Java installed on your computer.
This program is designed to be interactive, so you have to work with the program.
There are a variety of choices which you must make regarding the analysis and the display
of results by using a choice box.
A choice box has a descriptive word displayed and an arrow at the right of the
box. To make a choice, click on the arrow, hold down and drag to
make your selection.
The current values of the design variables are presented to you in boxes. By convention, a white box with
black numbers is an input box and you can change the value of the number. A black box
yellow numbers is an output box and the value is computed by the program.
To change the value in an input box, select the box by moving the cursor into the box
and clicking the mouse, then backspace over the old number, enter a new number,
then hit the Enter key on your keyboard. You must hit Enter
to send the new value to the program.
For most input variables you can also use a slider located next to the input box.
Click on the slider bar, hold down and drag the slider bar to change values, or
you can click on the arrows at either end of the slider.
At any time, to return to the original default conditions,
click the red Reset button at the upper right of the program.
If you see only a grey box at the top of this page, be sure that Java is
enabled in your browser. If Java is enabled, and you are using the Windows XP
operating system, you need to get a newer version of Java. Go to this link:
try the "Download It Now" button, and then select "Yes" when the download box from Sun pops up.
If you experience difficulties when using the sliders to change variables,
simply click away from the slider and then back to it.
the arrows on the end of the sliders disappear, click in the areas
where the left and right arrow images should appear, and they
program screen is divided into four main parts:
top left side of the screen is the View Window.
The view window includes a graphic of the airfoil that you are
designing and several buttons which control the graphic.
Details of the window
are given in the Graphics section of this page.
upper right side of the screen is the Control Panel.
The control panel holds several choice buttons which
control the analysis. You can select the type of analysis,
the type of input and output to be displayed,
and the units to be used in the calculations.
You will always see the computed
lift or lift coefficient displayed.
Details of the input
and output variables are given below.
lower right side of the screen is the Output Window.
The output can be presented as
graphs of airfoil performance,
a probe which you can move through the flowfield,
a lift meter, or printed
numerical values of certain parameters.
You select the type of output displayed by using the choice
button labeled "Output:" on the upper right panel.
lower left side of the screen is the Input Window.
Various input panels are displayed in this window.
You select the input panel by using the choice
button labeled "Input:" on the upper right panel.
The View Window contains a schematic drawing of the wing that
you are designing and some buttons to control the schematic drawing.
Possible choices are colored blue
while the selected option is colored yellow.
the wing as viewed looking along the leading edge. The cross section
appears as an airfoil or circle with the flow going from left to right.
You can move the picture within the window by moving the cursor into
the window, holding down the left mouse button, and dragging the airfoil
to a new location. You can also "Zoom" in close to the airfoil by using
the green slider at the left of the window. If you get lost, pushing
the red Find button will return the airfoil to the initial position.
the wing as viewed from above looking down onto the planform. The flow
is from bottom to top. Since FoilSim only solves for the two-dimensional
flow past objects, you won't see any flow in this view. It is provided
only to display the geometry of the wing area.
Side - 3D
shows an orthographic projection of the three dimensional wing.
particles flowing past the airfoil. The particles are drawn as line
"traces". The inclination of the trace is at the local flow angle, and
the left most part of the trace is the particle location. Particles
are being periodically released from a constant streamwise location
upstream of the airfoil.The streamwise distance between any two particles
is proportional to the local velocity.
a snapshot of the moving particles. In this view, you can change the
streamwise release point of the particles by moving the cursor into
the view window, holding down the left mouse, and dragging the particles
to the left or right. In this view, the particles are color coded by
the time at which they are released. (All of the yellow particles were
released at the same streamwise location at the same time.)
are collections of the particle traces to form a solid flow line.
shows only the geometry of the wing or airfoil with some descriptive
labels but with no flow field.
There are several different output options available for the
Output Window at the lower right.
You select the type of output by using the red choice
box on the control panel. If you select Plot,
a graph will appear in the window. The type of graph is described
below. Plot Selection provides a panel
in the output window which allows you to select the
type of plot.
If you display a plot and begin to change the
input variables, it may become necessary to rescale the plot axes by
pushing the white Rescale button at the upper left of the window.
The types of available plots are
The default plot
is the Surface Pressure. The yellow line will be a plot of the
lower surface pressure, and the purple line a plot of the upper surface
pressure. For reference, the green line shows the value of free stream
You may also display
the Surface Velocity. As with the pressure, the yellow line will
be a plot of the lower surface, and the purple line a plot of the upper
surface. If the Stall Model is used and the wing stalls, these
plots are not available.
The remaining plot
choices show Lift or Lift Coefficient -Cl versus each
of the input variables.
For these plots, the current value of the flow conditions is shown as
a red dot on the plot.
The Lift Meter
shows the current value of lift (or lift coefficient) displayed
in scientific notation. The meter is displayed in the output window
and moves as the lift is varied.
lets you explore the flow around the wing. A probe control panel appears
in the output window when you select "Probe" from the control panel.
By default, the probe is
turned off. You turn the probe on by pushing one of the white buttons
on the probe panel. The probe itself will then appear in the view window. You
change the location of the probe using the sliders to the left and below
the gauge on the probe panel. The value of the pressure or the velocity at the location
of the probe tip (magenta ball on the view window) is displayed on the
gauge. Or a green trail of "smoke" is swept downstream from the probe
location. You turn the probe off by using the red button located above
option provides a written list of important input and computed variables
in the Output Window. You have two options for performance output;
the Data option gives the computed lift and flow conditions, the
Geom option shows the coordinates of the airfoil geometry and the
local value of velocity and pressure. These numbers correspond to the
plots of velocity and pressure described above.
Some additional output
from the program is displayed on the control panel and some input panels.
You can choose to display the lift or the lift
coefficient by using the choice box on the control panel. The value
is displayed in the output box to the right of the choice box. Lift
may be expressed in either English or metric units (pounds or Newtons).
On the Flight Test input panel is a group of output boxes that give the
atmospheric conditions of the air. The pressure,
temperature, and density will change depending on the altitude and planetary
inputs. On the Size input panel the geometric aspect ratio of the
wing is displayed. The aspect ratio is defined to be the square of the
span divided by the wing area
and is included here for later calculations of wing drag.
The input variables
are located on input panels that are displayed at the lower left.
You can select the input to display by using the blue choice box on
the control panel. You can choose to vary the Shape,
the Size, or perform a Flight
If you choose to
Flight Test (the default choice), you can change the value of
lift by varying the speed, or the altitude.
You can flight test your wing on the earth (default), on Mars, or in
the water by using the choice box at the upper right. You can also
choose to specify your own values of temperature and pressure for air,
or to specify your own fluid by providing a value of the fluid density.
If you choose Shape/Angle,
you can select a classic airfoil shape, an ellipse, or a thin plate
cross section by using the choice box. You can change the camber,
thickness, or the angle of attack of
the cross section. The definitions of these geometric variables are given
on the wing geometry web page. You can also
choose to investigate the lift created by a rotating
cylinder, or a spinning ball. For these
problems you must specify the spin rate and radius.
If you choose Size,
you can vary the layout of the wing. You can change the chord, span,
or the wing area. The ratio of the span to the chord
is called the Aspect Ratio and this parameter also has an
on the lift of the wing. If you have selected
a cylinder or ball shape, this input panel is not used.
Changes from previous versions of the FoilSim II include:
On 27 Jul 10,
FoilSim III was relased. Upgrades and modifications to FoilSim II have
On 6 Feb 04,
version 1.5a was released. This version includes a slightly different
layout of the program. The large text box is now included as an output
option. This is the first version which is available in elementary, undergraduate,
and Java application versions. The elementary version has very few options and only
single input and output panels. The undergraduate version version includes
some additional options to better understand the analysis. The application
allows printed output from the program.
On 7 Oct 02,
version 1.4n was released. This version includes the effects of
aspect ratio on lift and some small modifications suggested by users,
including the "Rescale" option on the plots.
On 1 Dec 00,
version 1.4 was released. This version includes some additional shapes
(cylinder and ball), larger graphics output selections (density and
lift coefficient plots), different environments (water, non-standard
earth atmosphere, and specified fluid density) and a different layout
of the view panel. Corrections have also been made to the particle traces.
On 28 July 00,
version 1.3 was released. This version includes some additional airfoil
shapes (ellipse and plate), larger graphics output, and a (hopefully)
cleaner layout of input panels.
On 28 Feb 00,
a stall model was added. This model is invoked by using the blue on
white Input Choices button. The default analysis mode is Ideal
Flow, in which the stall model is turned off. If you choose Stall
Model and the angle of attack is greater than 10 degrees, you will
see the flow begin to separate from the surface of the airfoil, as it
does on real airfoils. The lift will continue to increase up to about
15 degrees; then it will decrease. This behavior is observed on real
airfoils as seen on the slide describing the effects of angle
of attack on lift.