Journal of Fluid Mechanics

Unsteady lifting-line theory as a singular perturbation problem

Ali R.  Ahmadi a1p1 and Sheila E.  Widnall a1
a1 Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139

Article author query
ahmadi ar   [Google Scholar] 
widnall se   [Google Scholar] 


Unsteady lifting-line theory is developed for a wing of large aspect ratio oscillating at low frequency in inviscid incompressible flow. The wing is assumed to have a rigid chord but a flexible span. Use of the method of matched asymptotic expansions reduces the problem from a singular integral equation to quadrature. The pressure field and airloads, for a prescribed wing shape and motion, are obtained in closed form as expansions in inverse aspect ratio. A rigorous definition of unsteady induced downwash is also obtained. Numerical calculations are presented for an elliptic wing in pitch and heave; compared with numerical lifting-surface theory, computation time is reduced significantly. The present work also identifies and resolves errors in the unsteady lifting-line theory of James (1975), and points out a limitation in that of Van Holten (1975, 1976, 1977).

(Published Online April 20 2006)
(Received October 25 1983)
(Revised September 7 1984)

p1 Present address: Bolt Beranek and Newman Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts 02238.