Modeling air flow over a wing

Team: 80


Area of Science: Physics


Problem Definition:

The problem being addressed in this program is how to model the difference in pressure of air molecules flowing over an airfoil. The goal of this project is to learn more about fluid dynamics in order to calculate changes in air pressures that affect the lift produced by the air flow over the wing. With the current technology, this is important because it will help make a more efficient air foil so that it takes less power to make it fly increasing an airplane's efficiency. In an online training manual by John S. Denker we learned that the air just ahead of the wing is moving upward as well as directed at the airfoil. Of course, at the back of the wing the air is moving downward and passed the wing. We also learned that along the leading edge of the wing is there is a stagnation line that divides the air. At high angles of attack the stagnation line is found below the leading edge of the wing and when the air hits it the air will backtrack then flow over the leading edge of the wing.

Problem Solution:

In this program we will use Star Logo to create a cross-section of an airfoil. We will then show how moving air particles are affected by the collision with the airfoil. Air pressure will be calculated for each based on the density of particles and the drag experienced along the surface of the airfoil.


So far, we have met with our mentor once. This was very helpful because it helped us learn how to make the turtles act as air particles. Nick also helped us to understand more about how to model the air as single particles moving over or around specific patches. At this point some of the air particles are starting inside the wing.

We are trying to correct this problem but so far we have not. Our program also tells the air particles to move around a designated patch and return to its original y-coordinate. We are trying to get the program to spread out the air particles as they hit a curve to determine the pressure. Assumptions being made in our program: temperatures remaining constant; particles are moving in a free stream; stagnation line is in the center of the airfoil cross-section; the angle of attack does not change; dynamic, Q is about a half pound per square inch; the negative air pressure above the wing does more than 100% of the lifting of the airfoil.


1. John S. Denker 1996. See how it Flies, new spin on the perception, procedures, and principals of flight

Team Members:

  Gunther Wong
  Alex Baker

Sponsoring Teacher: Debra Loftin