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Showing the Lift Equation
in its Y = mX + b Form

Aeronautics Logo

Subject Area: Physics

Grade Level: 11 - 12

National Science Standards:

  • Select and apply technology tools for research, information analysis, problem-solving, and decision-making in content learning.
  • Investigate and apply simulations in real-world situations.

National Technology Standards:

  • Technology research tools: Use content-specific tools, software and simulations (e.g., environmental probes, graphing calculators, exploratory environments, Web tools) to support learning and research; select and use appropriate tools and technology resources to accomplish a variety of tasks and solve problems.
  • Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Tools - Routinely and efficiently use on-line information resources to meet needs for collaboration, research, publications, communications, and productivity.

 Objective:

After reading an explanation from a NASA Web-based textbook, you will demonstrate an understanding of the text by using it, along with FoilSim, to complete an activity that manipulates the lift coefficient equation to solve for lift as a function of angle of attack, and interpret the complete lift equation.


FoilSim is an interactive simulation software package that examines the airflow around various shapes of airfoils. As you change parameters such as airspeed, altitude, angle of attack, thickness and curvature of the airfoil, and size of the wing area, the software calculates the lift. The package was created at the NASA Glenn Research Center.

FoilSim II is a Java applet program that executes inside the browser of your computer. It is available on the World Wide Web at http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/K-12/airplane/foil2.html. You can also download the program to run off-line.

Shown below is a screen shot from the program's controls and displays. You may change the values of the variables by using the slider or the input box on the left of the slider.

To use the slider:

  1. Click the mouse pointer on the arrows at the ends of the slider.
  2. Click the mouse pointer anywhere between the slider and the arrow.
  3. Drag the slider with the mouse.

To use the input box:

Simply select the value in the input box, key in the new value, and press Enter or Tab when finished. The button on the slider will move corresponding to the value typed in the box.

Image of FoilSim Interface

You will study how lift varies with airfoil shape and also angle of attack. Backround information can be found at:

basic lift equation

airfoil shape

angle of attack


Assessment:

You and your partner(s) will be evaluated on the accuracy and completeness of your answers.

Evaluation:

You will demonstrate your understanding and use of the complete lift equation by solving it in its linear form and applying this equation as a function of angle of attack, in graphical form.

Submitted by: Gary Ruschel, University of Akron, Cleveland, Ohio.


Related Pages:
Activity
Worksheet
Answers
Lesson Index
Aerodynamics Index

 

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Editor: Tom Benson
NASA Official: Tom Benson
Last Updated: Thu, Jun 12 04:47:12 PM EDT 2014

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