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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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Early British Work on Lift and Drag

Early British Work on Lift and Drag

Rayleigh Flow versus the Aerodynamics of Intuition

(p.79) 3 Early British Work on Lift and Drag
The Enigma of the Aerofoil

David Bloor

University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses discontinuity and how it became the main focus of the ACA in its theoretical and experimental research efforts concerning lift. The immediate research aim of the ACA was to provide a mathematical analysis that would predict the forces exerted on a flat or curved plate immersed at an angle to a flowing fluid. The plate was to function as a simple model of an aircraft wing, and the mathematically idealized fluid, necessary to perform the calculations, was to act as a model of the air. To calculate the forces, researchers needed a precise and quantitative picture of the flow around the wing. For the British, the best available guess was provided by Rayleigh's important work on discontinuous flow, which appeared to the ACA as the rational place to start. This chapter describes this work and, in later sections, contrasts it with the ideas about lift put forward by the leading representative of the “practical men.” .

Keywords:   discontinuity, ACA, lift, mathematical analysis, aircraft wing, fluid, Rayleigh, discontinuous flow, practical men

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