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How to work out the area of an elliptical wing?

  1. Feb 16, 2016 #1
    I am planning to measure the wing area of a Spitfire aircraft. I am going to use double integral formula, but firstly I need to derive the continuous function for the region of interest. Also,
    How to do that? I searched the entire internet and only found out the wing span of that aircraft, cant find the width or the fuselage (part of the wing inside the aircraft, which doesnt count)

    Thank you
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 16, 2016 #2
    Wikipedia says Vickers-Armstrongs succeeded manufacturer Supermarine Aviation.
    If you can 't find the dimensions you need online, and there are many many google results with possibilities,
    try e-mailing Vickers. Or an enthusiasts club. Bet they have plans.

  4. Feb 16, 2016 #3
    how about maths? i dont know how to do the maths...
  5. Feb 16, 2016 #4
    If you have ever found the area under a plot line, that's the idea.

    In your case you have no zero line, no flat horizontal axis of zero, but rather continuous functions for two curves, the front and back of the wing. You also have a complex curve [limit] for the shape of the wing tip, but I guess the wing along the fuselage is close to straight??....if so, I'd use that as the lower limit for the two edges. That's rather a complicated integration....I'm guessing there are computer programs to do that kind of calculation....aeronautical engineering I guess.
  6. Feb 16, 2016 #5
    thanks, here is the wing: http://forum.keypublishing.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=12700&stc=1&d=1074055111
    I think I will just work out the "wing area" (projected area), not the total surface area, because that's even more complicated, which including some 3d shapes and "curvy" bits...
  7. Feb 16, 2016 #6
    exactly. Why wings provide lift has been the subject of discussions in theses forums, and if I recall, t6here is a FAQ you might find as well. Is shape of the underside of the wing simply flat....I don't know.
  8. Feb 16, 2016 #7
    What is t6? the shape is simply flat i guess, depends how precise you want.
  9. Feb 17, 2016 #8


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    That's generally a bad idea. The aircraft's original designers didn't calculate the wing area in this manner, and neither should you.

    If all you are interested in is calculating the area of the wing, there are much simpler numerical integration techniques which can accomplish the same result with fewer headaches, especially if you are not familiar with higher math. In particular, Simpson's Rule can be applied to this problem and you can calculate an area in about an hour or so.


    The article above is developed for calculating the areas and volumes of boats, which are composed of lots of curves. No one tries to develop all of the formulas for these curves because it's just too tedious. By measuring the offsets at a few key locations, Simpson's Rule still allows one to do plenty of calculations, even though the explicit formula for the shape of the vessel's hull is never known.
  10. Feb 17, 2016 #9


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  11. Feb 17, 2016 #10
    I have to use maths, im doing a maths project.
  12. Feb 17, 2016 #11


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    Numerical integration uses math. It's all numbers. It just doesn't use double dome math, which would be counter-productive in this case. In case you haven't noticed, the wing of the Spitfire is not a true ellipse anyway.
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