Comparisons of theoretical methods for predicting airfoil aerodynamic characteristics

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A number of airfoils have been tested in the Pennsylvania State University low-speed low-turbulence wind tunnel, and the results of these tests are compared with those predicted using several well-known theoretical methods. The theoretical methods used are the potential-flow/integral boundary-layer methods XFOIL 6.96 and PROFIL07 and the Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes solverOVERFLOW2.2e. This version of the OVERFLOWsolver contains an implementation of the transitional shear-stress transport turbulence model developed by Langtry and Menter ("Correlation-Based Transition Modeling for Unstructured Parallelized Computational Fluid Dynamics Codes," AIAA Journal, Vol. 47, No. 12, 2009, pp. 2894-2906). This model is capable of capturing the influence of transition on the flowfield through a local-correlation method. The airfoils considered for this study are the E 387, S805, PSU 94-097, HTR1555, S903, and S824. Although none of the theoretical methods considered were consistently the best overall, all codes predicted the drag well in the low-drag regions of these airfoils and the codes incorporating integral boundary-layer methods generally agreed better with the experimental data. The methods also all showed inconsistencies in predicting the maximum lift coefficient, with XFOIL and OVERFLOWfrequently overpredicting this value.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-191
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Aircraft
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering


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