The aerodynamic performance of airfoils operating at Reynolds numbers below 105 has been of interest due to its variety of applications in areas such as unmanned remotely piloted vehicles, small-scale machinery, and more recently, Micro Air Vehicles (MAV's). Design and testing of airfoils to meet these applications is challenging due to the lack of experimental data in low Reynolds flow, compared to airfoils tested at higher Reynolds numbers. Two mechanical balance devices are designed and evaluated to provide a quick and simple method to test small airfoil aerodynamic loads. Each device measures two degrees of freedom; a force balance measures lift and drag forces and a moment balance measures pitch and roll moments. Coefficients of lift and drag vs. angle of attack and coefficients of pitch and roll vs. angle of attack or sideslip angle data are obtained from the fabricated devices and compared to literature results. A statistical evaluation is performed on various aspect ratio flat plate and cambered airfoils to test repeatability. Testing procedures are documented and an overall analysis of testing methods and device designs are discussed.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Aerodynamic load; Aerofoils--Testing; Reynolds number
Department, Program, or Center
Mechanical Engineering (KGCOE)
Abe, Corey, "Aerodynamic force and moment balance design, fabrication, and testing for use in low Reynolds flow applications" (2003). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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