Maximizing the Lift on an Airfoil Using Upper Camber Height, Wing Texture, and Angle of Attack

The purpose of this research was to find a combination of a wing’s upper camber height, texture, and angle of attack that would maximize lift. A three-factor design of experiment (DOE) was conducted six times in order to determine the effects of the three individual factors and the interaction between them. During the experiment, an airfoil was connected to a force sensor and placed inside a wind tunnel. When the wind tunnel was powered on, the force sensor measured the lift exerted on the airfoil. Throughout the experiment, the camber height (1.5 cm, 2 cm, 2.5 cm), texture (smooth, rough, dimpled), and angle of attack (5°, 10°, 15°) were changed in order to determine their effect on lift. The airfoil with a low camber height, smooth texture, and high angle of attack produced the greatest amount of lift. Because of inaccuracy suggested by the large range of standards, the only variable deemed significant was the airfoil’s angle of attack. As the wing’s angle of attack increased, the average lift exerted on the airfoil increased significantly. The other five effects were considered a result of random variability, experimental error, and design weakness. The results of this experiment could be applicable in the transportation industry. With the ongoing unpredictability of oil prices and availability, it is imperative to create more efficient airplanes to keep up with public demand. Designing wings that produce more lift could decrease the cost of flight and help preserve this crucial mode of trade and transportation.

Research Done By:

Carl Chan
Cousino High School

Oles Synyutka
Warren Mott High School