A Theoretical Investigation of the Drag of Generalized Aircraft Configurations in Supersonic Flow

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It seems possible that, in supersonic flight, unconventional arrangements of wings and bodies may offer advantages in the form of drag reduction. It is the purpose of this report to consider the methods for determining the pressure drag for such unconventional configurations, and to consider a few of the possibilities for drag reduction in highly idealized aircraft. The idealized aircraft are defined by distributions of lift and volume in three-dimensional space, and Hayes' method of drag evaluation, which is well adapted to such problems, is the fundamental tool employed. Other methods of drag evaluation are considered also wherever they appear ... continued below

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Graham, E. W.; Lagerstrom, P. A.; Licher, R. M. & Beane, B. J. January 1, 1957.

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  • Main Title: A Theoretical Investigation of the Drag of Generalized Aircraft Configurations in Supersonic Flow
  • Series Title: NACA Technical Memorandums

Description

It seems possible that, in supersonic flight, unconventional arrangements of wings and bodies may offer advantages in the form of drag reduction. It is the purpose of this report to consider the methods for determining the pressure drag for such unconventional configurations, and to consider a few of the possibilities for drag reduction in highly idealized aircraft. The idealized aircraft are defined by distributions of lift and volume in three-dimensional space, and Hayes' method of drag evaluation, which is well adapted to such problems, is the fundamental tool employed. Other methods of drag evaluation are considered also wherever they appear to offer amplifications. The basic singularities such as sources, dipoles, lifting elements and volume elements are discussed, and some of the useful inter-relations between these elements are presented. Hayes' method of drag evaluation is derived in detail starting with the general momentum theorem. In going from planar systems to spatial systems certain new problems arise. For example, interference between lift and thickness distributions generally appears, and such effects are used to explain the difference between the non-zero wave drag of Sears-Haack bodies and the zero wave drag of Ferrari's ring wing plus central body. Another new feature of the spatial systems is that optimum configurations generally are not unique, there being an infinite family of lift or thickness distributions producing the same minimum drag. However it is shown that all members of an optimum family produce the same flow field in a certain region external to the singularity distribution. Other results of the study indicate that certain spatial distributions may produce materially less wave drag and vortex drag than comparable planar systems. It is not at all certain that such advantages can be realized in practical aircraft designs, but further investigation seems to be warranted.

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  • URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2060/20040034216 External Link
  • Report No.: NACA-TM-1421
  • Center for AeroSpace Information Number: 20040034216
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc64032

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National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics Collection

The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) was a U.S. federal agency founded on March 3, 1915 to undertake, promote, and institutionalize aeronautical research. On October 1, 1958 the agency was dissolved, and its assets and personnel transferred to the newly created National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Technical Report Archive and Image Library

This selection of materials from the Technical Report Archive and Image Library (TRAIL) includes hard-to-find reports published by various government agencies. The technical publications contain reports, images, and technical descriptions of research performed for U.S. government agencies. Topics range from mining, desalination, and radiation to broader physics, biology, and chemistry studies. Some reports include maps, foldouts, blueprints, and other oversize materials.

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  • January 1, 1957

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Nov. 17, 2011, 5:13 p.m.

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  • Feb. 6, 2017, 5:47 p.m.

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Graham, E. W.; Lagerstrom, P. A.; Licher, R. M. & Beane, B. J. A Theoretical Investigation of the Drag of Generalized Aircraft Configurations in Supersonic Flow, report, January 1, 1957; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc64032/: accessed December 13, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.