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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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Lanchester’s Cyclic Theory of Lift and Its Early Reception

Lanchester’s Cyclic Theory of Lift and Its Early Reception

(p.111) 4 Lanchester’s Cyclic Theory of Lift and Its Early Reception
The Enigma of the Aerofoil

David Bloor

University of Chicago Press

This chapter lays the foundations for an explanation of the negative response to circulation theory. Given that the circulation theory later came to be accepted as the correct account of lift, this insistent rejection has long been seen as a puzzle. By the beginning of the Great War the British experts on the ACA who were responsible for research in aerodynamics had effectively abandoned the discontinuity theory of lift. There was, however, a known alternative: the circulatory or vortex theory that had been developed by Frederick Lanchester. It would be reasonable to expect that this theory would now become an object of some interest even if it had been ignored at the outset of the ACA's work when they had concentrated on Rayleigh's achievements, but, rather than turning to the circulation theory, the ACA again treated it as if it were of no merit.

Keywords:   circulation theory, lift, Great War, aerodynamics, discontinuity theory, vortex theory, Frederick Lanchester, ACA

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