Turning an airfoil around

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Hi was trying to figure out what would happen if you reversed the wing of a standard prop plane? for example...the thinner wedge is towards the front. Would you still get lift? I suppose not since there is a reason the rounded/thicker edge is facing towards the front. but why not?
 

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  • #2
A.T.
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Would you still get lift?
With the right angle of attack, yes. But the flow would be more likely to separate.
 
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mathman
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A flat plate can be an airfoil at an angle of attack.
 
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sophiecentaur
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There is more to a wing than just to provide Lift. A well designed wing profile provides lift yet it also keeps the Drag low.
 
  • #5
boneh3ad
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Actually, due to the rounded side being in the back, you may or may not generate lift (or at least very little) depending on where separation occurs.
 
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Vintage aircrafts can easily fly on their back. And on youtube I saw a test pilot flying a barrel roll with a 707.
Aerodynamics of aircrafts are a rather complicated issue.
 
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A sharp leading edge (LE) can work at very low Reynold's numbers. Dr. Michael Selig tested the LRN1007 airfoil and it performed well.

There are airfoils with a sharp LE and blunt trailing edge (TE), e.g. X-15, but they're designed for supersonic operation. Subsonic airfoils have a tapered trailing edge that comes to a sharp point in order to avoid a turbulent wake and associated bluff body drag.
 

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  • #8
boneh3ad
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That's not why typical subsonic airfoils come to a point (or at least not the primary reason). See, for example, flatback airfoils commonly found on wind turbines. It's primary purpose is actually setting the rear stagnation point so that a net circulation can develop around the airfoil and lift can be generated. Any reduction in the turbulence of the wake is a bonus.
 

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