Aerodynamics

In: Science

Submitted By marius123
Words 677
Pages 3
One of the first things that is likely to be noticed during a visit to the local airport is the wide variety of airplane styles and designs. No matter what each looks like they all depend on the same four factors which are lift, weight, thrust, and drag. The direction in which the force of weight acts is constant. It always acts straight down toward the center of the earth (Four Forces on an airplane 1). Lift is the upward force produced by the effect of airflow as it passes over and under the wings. It helps maintain the airplane in flight. Weight opposes lift, it is caused by the downward pull of gravity. Thrust is the forward force which propels the airplane through the air. It varies with the amount of engine power being used. Opposing thrust is drag, which is a backward force that decreases the speed of the airplane (What is Thrust 1). Lift is the key aerodynamic force. It is the force that opposes weight. In straight and level flight when weight and lift are equivalent, an airplane is said to be in a state of equilibrium. If the other aerodynamic factors remain constant, then that airplane neither gains nor loses altitude. Movement of air on the airplane, particularly the wing, is necessary in order for the aerodynamic force of lift to become effective. During flight, however, pressures on the upper and lower surfaces of the wing are not the equal. Although several factors contribute to this difference, the shape of the wing plays an important role. The wing is designed to divide the airflow into areas of high pressure below the wing and areas of comparatively lower pressure above the wing (Four Forces on an airplane). This pressure differential, which is created by movement of air about the wing, is the primary source of lift. The weight of the airplane is not a constant. It varies with the equipment installed, passengers, cargo, and fuel load.…...

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