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Mechanisms in wing-in-ground effect aerodynamics

Jones, Marvin Alan; (2000) Mechanisms in wing-in-ground effect aerodynamics. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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An aircraft in low-level flight experiences a large increase in lift and a marked reduction in drag, compared with flight at altitude. This phenomenon is termed the 'wing-in-ground' effect. In these circumstances a region of high pressure is created beneath the aerofoil, and a pressure difference is set up between its upper and lower surfaces. A pressure difference is not permitted at the trailing edge and therefore a mechanism must exist which allows the pressures above and below to adjust themselves to produce a continuous pressure field in the wake. It is the study of this mechanism and its role in the aerodynamics of low-level flight that forms the basis of our investigation. We begin in Chapter 2 by considering the flow past a thin aero-foil moving at moderate distances from the ground, the typical ground clearance a being of order unity. The aforementioned mechanism is introduced and described in detail in the context of this inviscid problem. Chapter 3 considers the same flow for large and small ground clearances and in the later case shows that the flow solution beneath the aerofoil takes on a particularly simple form. In this case the lift is shown to increase as a-1. In Chapter 4 we focus on the flow past the trailing edge of an aerofoil moving even nearer the ground, with the ground just outside the boundary layer. We show that in this case our asymptotic theory for small a is consistent with a 'triple-deck' approach to the problem which incorporates ground effects via a new pressure-displacement law. The triple-deck ground-interference problem is stated and solved. In Chapter 5 we investigate the case where the aerofoil is so near the ground that the ground is inside the boundary layer. Here the moving ground interacts with the aerofoil in a fully viscous way and the non-linear boundary layer equations hold along the entire length of the aerofoil. Again a pressure difference at the trailing edge is not permitted and this produces upstream adjustment back to the leading edge. Regions of reversed flow can occur and their effects, with regard to downforce production and racing car undertray design, are considered. In Chapter 6 we consider 'wing-in-tunnel' effects.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Mechanisms in wing-in-ground effect aerodynamics
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Applied sciences; Low-level flight
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10097269
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