747-600X From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 2776 posts, RR: 16 Posted (13 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 600 times:
The larger an aircraft is, the thicker its wings (a 747's, for example, are upwards of 6 feet thick). Doesn't there come a point, however, where the wings can only have increased surface are and not vertical depth - wouldn't that eventually have the effect of being a large wall? Will wings continue to increase proportionately to the fuselages or be dragged longer and wider instead of thicker?
"Mental health is reality at all cost." -- M. Scott Peck, 'The Road Less Traveled'
Leo-ERJ From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 2, posted (13 years 10 months 1 week 1 day ago) and read 546 times:
Obviously the thicker an aircraft's wing is the larger the drag that is induced. The limit of the thickness is mainly determined by the minumum load requirements to have the effects of an airfoil. In other words, it has to be heavy enough to withstand the external forces and generate the appropriate lift. Other than that, further "thickness" of the wing will increase a boundary layer and also some drag might be caused to the airfoil. For a wing design to be appropriately installed its lift to drag ratio must be sufficient to account for the different pressure differences in the wing itself. The increase in surface area will produce the necessary pressure field for it to generate some lift. That is the whole point of a wing's increased surface area.
Leo-ERJ From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 5, posted (13 years 10 months 1 week 22 hours ago) and read 536 times:
As we know the ideal situation would be an airfoil that could respond with the largest possible lift force and with the least necessary amount of resistive factors such as drag.
In any wing structure design, the primary factor that governs is the so-called Bernoulli's equation. I won't be very mathematical here but basically it says that if the velocity of air is increased over a certain point of an airfoil, the pressure of the air is decreased. In order for that to happen, the various pressure points in the wings must be distributed along its surface, and the larger the area the wider the spread thus more lift generated. The drawback though is that for that to happen, the so called "thickness ratio" you referred to must be accordingly increased to support the force parameters. That will always be a factor present in any airfoil design. In my opinion, I guess the only way to override this would be the production of innovative composite materials that have the adequate strength to support the external parameters of the airfoil and at the same time produce an elevated lift-to-drag ratio. It all really depends on the core material (multicellular structures) that is adequate for this kind of situation. Plus there is also the evil of infeasability over such projects.
One of the things I first learned in my first years at school was that behind every engineering innovation there is something that can still be improved and lead us to continue to think, so that further advances are made. It is nothing but an infinite loop. Anyway, enough of the philosophy....
PS: Thanks for your kind thoughts Buff. I appreciate it. I try and contribute to the best of my understanding.
Leo-ERJ From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 8, posted (13 years 10 months 1 week 9 hours ago) and read 527 times:
Thaks Buff! I can now see there is a purpose served for these ineteresting posts in this forum! It actually hounors me receeiving such a special vote like that from you. I would really wish to someday possess half the knowledge you have on such a diverse topic that aviation is.