Low speed NLF airfoils: A case study in inverse airfoil design

Ashok Gopalarathnam, Michael S. Seligt

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


A systematic study of the trends in low speed natural-laminar-flow airfoils for general aviation applications is presented. The airfoils have been designed using a multipoint inverse airfoil design method, which allows for specification of velocity and boundary-layer properties over different portions of the airfoil. A panel method with a coupled boundary-layer scheme is used to analyze the characteristics of the resulting airfoils. By systematically adjusting the specifications, families of airfoils have been designed with different lift, drag and pitching moment characteristics. Parametric studies are presented to study the tradeoffs involved in designing laminar-flow airfoils for general aviation. Although the results of the study are specific to the class of airplanes considered, the design philosophies and the design approach used in the study are applicable to a wide range of airplanes. In addition, the examples presented in the paper form an excellent case study to demonstrate the power of modern inverse design techniques in controlling the performance of an airfoil to a fine degree.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 1999
Event37th Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit, 1999 - Reno, United States
Duration: Jan 11 1999Jan 14 1999


Other37th Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit, 1999
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Aerospace Engineering


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