Airfoils and how they work to generate lift

June, 16, 2021 by

Airfoils (also called aerofoil) can be defined as the cross-sectional profile of a wing, propeller rotor or turbine. It’s a streamlined shape designed to provide lift. The principle behind how an airfoil generates lift is simple – the lower part of the airfoil has high pressure while the upper part has low pressure. Air flows from the high pressure region to low pressure regions, thereby producing lift, as shown in the figure below.

In the figure above, a CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) result of a rotor blade featuring the NACA23012 airfoil, performed on Ansys is shown. We can see from the result that the air below the airfoil has higher pressure than air above it and that is how the airfoil generates lift.

Siddhansh Narang is a contributor for the IFATC Education Group. He is an IFATC Supervisor.