In an engineering drawing how would you dimension the cross-section of an aircraft's airfoil? Obviously, you would have to include the chord length, leading and trailing edge radius, and wingspan. But this does not fully define the geometry.


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A search using "airfoil design parameters" returned at the top of the list a link to a PDF with specifics regarding this question. It appears to be a 72 slide Powerpoint presentation, but one page narrows the information:

Some of the basic parameters to describe the airfoil geometry are:

  1. Leading edge—the forward most point on the airfoil (typically placed at the origin for convenience)
  2. Trailing edge—the aft most point on the airfoil (typically placed on the x axis for convenience)
  3. Chord line—a straight line between the leading and trailing edges (the x axis for our convention)
  4. Mean camber line—a line midway between the upper and lower surfaces at each chord-wise position
  5. Maximum camber—the largest value of the distance between the mean camber line and the chord line, which quantifies the camber of an airfoil
  6. Maximum thickness—the largest value of the distance between the upper and lower surfaces, which quantifies the thickness of the airfoil
  7. Leading-edge radius—the radius of a circle that fits the leading-edge curvature

The document contains images to reference the terms above as well as detailed explanations for these parameters.


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