Anderson, John D., Jr. National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland.
Last reviewed:May 2019
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- Lift and drag definitions
- Force coefficients
- Separation and stall
- Drag components
- Skin friction drag
- Pressure drag due to flow separation
- Parasite and profile drag
- Induced drag
- Wave drag
- Drag coefficient expressions
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The force exerted on a body whenever there is a relative velocity between the body and the air. There are only two basic sources of aerodynamic force: the pressure distribution and the frictional shear stress distribution exerted by the airflow on the body surface. The pressure exerted by the air at a point on the surface acts perpendicular to the surface at that point; and the shear stress, which is due to the frictional action of the air rubbing against the surface, acts tangentially to the surface at that point. The pressure and shear stress act at each point on the body surface, and hence the distribution of pressure and shear stress represent a distributed load over the surface. The net aerodynamic force on the body is due to the net imbalance between these distributed loads as they are summed (integrated) over the entire surface. Aerodynamic force must be carefully considered when designing aircraft (Fig. 1). See also: Air; Air pressure; Aircraft; Aircraft design; Aircraft testing; Airplane; Boundary-layer flow; Pressure; Stress and strain; Wind stress
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