The Aerodynamic Forces of Flight Module

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An Experiment to show how lift is created by the application of Bernoulli's Principle

Since Bernoulli's Principle tells us that faster moving air results in a decrease in air pressure, we can see how air can be caused to push unevenly on objects around us. Airplanes, by lowering the pressure over the wing, are able to get pushed into the air by the higher air pressure underneath the wings. This is explained more fully in . The following experiment help to demonstrate how lift is created by the application of Bernoulli's Principle:


1/2 a sheet of typing paper (cut lengthwise)


This experiment involves making a simple "wing" to help us understand how a wing's shape allows it to apply Bernoulli's Principle and thus gain lift. Begin by folding the piece of paper in half widthwise. Next, tape the top edge of the paper so that it is about 1/2" from the bottom edge; this will make the top half of the paper curved like the top of a wing. This is your model wing. Slide the wing over the ruler so that the curved side is facing up and the folded seam is facing you. Holding the ruler in front of you with the wing hanging down, blow straight at the folded seam. The wing will lift up from its hanging, at rest position.

Think about the following:

By having a curve over the top of the wing, what happens to the distance that the air over the top of the wing has to cover--compared with the distance the air has to travel under the wing?
How is the velocity of the air going over the top compared to the velocity of the air going under the wing? What is the effect of the air pressure over the top of the wing/under the wing? Why is the wing lifted then?
Explain your rationale of why the wing will be lifted to the person sitting next to you.