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The Enigma of the AerofoilRival Theories in Aerodynamics, 1909-1930$
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David Bloor

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780226060941

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226060934.001.0001

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The Laws of Prandtl and the Laws of Nature

The Laws of Prandtl and the Laws of Nature

(p.340) 9 The Laws of Prandtl and the Laws of Nature
The Enigma of the Aerofoil

David Bloor

University of Chicago Press

This chapter puts into question Taylor's rejection of Lanchester's idea that the flow of air over a wing was describable in terms of a perfect fluid in irrotational motion with circulation. It is argued here that if Prandtl was right, then Taylor had been wrong. With Glauert at the helm, the postwar argument in the ACA seemed to be going in Prandtl's direction, and the circulation theory was gaining ground. In 1923, Glauert wrote to Prandtl to tell him that “aerofoil theory has certainly aroused much interest here and it would not be an exaggeration to say that it has revolutionized many of our ideas.” Taylor, however, was not to be easily convinced that his earlier reservations had been misplaced. In the postwar discussions, he made it his job to scrutinize Glauert's reasoning and to oppose it whenever he detected a logical gap or a questionable premise.

Keywords:   circulation theory, perfect fluid, irrotational motion, Lanchester, Taylor, Lanchester, Prandtl, Glauert, aerofoil theory

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