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Theme # 9.



1. Critical speed of divergence of a straight wing.
2. Influence of different parameters on critical speed of divergence.
3. Loss of aileron efficiency. Ailerons' reversal.

1. Critical speed of divergence of a straight wing.

We will begin the analysis of aeroelasticity with studying the phenomena of static
aeroelasticity - divergence. Let's look at a straight wing. Its line of centers of pressure is
located before the axis of rigidity. At a positive angle of attack  in airflow there is a lift
on a wing, which moment twists the wing in the side of increase of an angle of attack.
Such strain causes a great increase in lift and further extension of an angle of attack
until the elastic moment appropriate to torsion of a wing, doesn't counteract the moment
of aerodynamic forces. In some conditions the equilibrium of a wing appears impossible
and under the effect of load it aperiodically swerves from the balance. It is accepted to
call a phenomenon of static instability of a construction in an airflow divergence, or
twisting of a wing, and critical speed of divergence is the speed of a flight, at which if it
is overflowing, the equilibrium between the elastic and aerodynamic moments of a
construction is impossible.
Let's look at a straight wing in a plan with a symmetrical profile. Let's consider
rigidity of a wing under torsion constant in length and equal GIt, whilst mass forces are
neglected. The wing section of length of dz (fig. 1) is loaded by linear air load q, by
elastic fmoments Te. A linear torque from air load is equal:
m  C  (  )qbx
t y
where  — is an angle of attack of a rigid wing;
 — angle of twisting in the section above;
x — distance between the line of focuses (FL) and axis of rigidity (AR).
Elastic moment in cross section is equal:
Te  GIt (2)
From an equilibrium condition of forces pushing on a compartment it follows that:
dT d 2
mt  e  GI t 2 (3)
dz dz
or with (1) we have:
 d 2
mt  Cy (  )qbx  GI t 2 (4)





Fig 1. The elastic wing under air load.

Therefore we can write down:

d 2
 k 2   , (5)
dz 2

Cy qbx Cy qbx
k 
, .
Common solution of a differential equation (5) is recorded as
  A sin kz  B cos kz  C , (6)
where A and B are arbitrary constants of integration, determined from boundary
С = - — quotient solution of the right part of equation.
Boundary conditions will be as following:
If z= 0 in wing root then  = 0;
and if z= lt on the wing tip then  0,
where lt – is coordinate of wing tip.
Using the expressions (5) and (6), we’ll have:
sin klt sin kz  cos klt (cos kz  1)
 . (7)
cos klt

At divergence the angle  continuously increases and aims at infinity in a limit.
From the solution (7) follows that  = , if cos klt= 0. The least value klt = 0.5, which
adequate to this condition, corresponds to the critical speed of divergence. Thus,

2 Cy qbx
k  2 
4l t GIt
From where we have:
qd 
4lt Cy xS
and critical speed of divergence Vd is equal:
Vd  0.5 , (8)
lt Cy xS
Here we have S=ltb; lt is the length of outer wing, b – is a wing chord.

2. Influence of different parameters on critical speed of divergence

For this purpose we shall use expression (8).

The critical speed of divergence increases with an extension of rigidity of a wing
under torsion GIt and reduction lt S. The influence of airspeed on Vd is seen through the
parameters Cy, ∆х and through rigidity of a wing under torsion GIt. The increase of Cy
during a flight with subsonic speed results in reduction of Vd. In a flight with supersonic
speed Cy, and х decrease (because of the removing of the focus back), and as a result
Vd increases.
However at larger numbers M of a flight, when heating begins to affect, rigidity
of a wing under torsion decreases and there might be decrease of Vd.
For a swept wing critical speed of divergence is equal:
Vd   Vd  , (9)
 ,
GIt lt tg 
cos    
2EI x cos 
 - is the wing sweep angle, EI – bending rigidity of wing/
With increase of a wing sweep Vd increases as well. It follows from the bend of a
swept wing which leads to the decrease of the sections' angles of attack and therefore,
the load causing its twisting.
As for the modern constructions of wings the critical speed of divergence usually
exceeds the maximum speed of a flight. It is explained by the reason that the ensuring of
rigidity of a wing (on condition that other phenomena of aeroelasticity are prevented) is
sufficient enough for a complete exception of divergence.

The pylons of nacelles have rather small critical speed of divergence, which is
usually performed with a large sweep forward. In this case, because of bending and
torsion the turn angles of cross-sections are summarized, and as the result favorable
conditions for divergence appear. Besides, the center of pressure on a pylon with a
nacelle can be placed at a significant distance from an axis of rigidity that also brings to
the decrease in critical speed of divergence. Checking on divergence can be necessary
for a variable-incidence tail plane, which rigidity under torsion is comparatively not too
high, thanks to the special way of its fastening.

3. Loss of aileron efficiency. Ailerons' reversal.

3.1. The essence of the phenomena and the basic concepts.

When the ailerons deviate on the outer wings two additional lifts are formed:
one is directed upward on the half of a wing with a down pointed aileron, and the other
one is directed downwards, which is on the half of a wing with an uplifted aileron(fig.
2). It leads to the loss of equilibrium of an airplane concerning the axis X and to the
emergence of the banking moment Мх in the side of a wing with an uplifted aileron.




Fig. 2. Action of ailerons.

Efficiency of ailerons is the reaction of an airplane on their deviation. If under the

deviation of ailerons the angular rate х of a bank rises rapidly, the ailerons are
effective. If an airplane slowly reacts to deviation of the ailerons, their efficiency is low.
Quantitatively efficiency is accepted to be evaluated by the value of maximum angular
rate х of a bank with completely deflected ailerons or by its arbitrary х on aileron
angle. The required values of these quantities are set by technical conditions developed

for a certain airplane. The maximum value х for the maneuvering airplanes can reach
1 - 1.5 rad /sec and more.
Ailerons reversal — is retroactive, which means that the motion of the bank is on
the side of a wing with a down pointed aileron. The loss of efficiency of the ailerons and
their reversal are connected with appearing of the damping moments on a wing opposite
to the motion of a bank. It is also connected with elasticity of the construction, which
causes such strains of a wing that they lead to the falling of the banking moment and
even to the change of its sign
The damping moments are stipulated by certain reasons. One of them lies in the
fact that during the motion of a bank on a down-going wing the angle of attack
increases, and the angle of attack on the up-going wing decreases. As a result some
additional forces appear which counteract the motion of a bank. If an airplane has a
swept or triangle wing, then in a positive angle of attack the down-going wing will
move forward with respect to the up-going wing. It will cause a wing-slip and in a
steady airplane (in the meaning of a cross-sectional ratio) there will be a moment
counteracting the bank. In a flight with the large numbers M falling of the ailerons'
efficiency can occur owing to the changing of the flow pattern of a wing, which happens
because of the appearance of intensive shock waves and stalls behind bounds. From
now on we will connect a phenomenon of a reverse only with an interference of
aerodynamic forces and elastic distortions of the wings' construction.
As it was already mentioned before, with deviation of ailerons on the sites of a
wing (on the part where ailerons are) an additional load Y appears (fig.2). Under the
load the elastic wing changes in form —it twists and curves. As the ailerons are at the
trailing edge of a wing, the wing with a down-pointed aileron is curved to the
decreasing of cross-sections, while the wing with an up-pointed aileron is curved to the
increasing of angles of attack. If a wing is swept, then additional bending strains of a
wing will also lead to the reduction of angles of attack of its cross-sections on a wing
with a down-pointed aileron and to the increasing of angles of attack of cross-sections
on a wing with an up-pointed aileron. Thus an increase in lift from declination of the
ailerons decreases in comparison with the one, which would take place on a rigid wing.
The additional load of a wing Y, which arises with declination of ailerons on the
elastic wing, is proportional to increment of a lift coefficient
Cy  Cy   Cy  , (10)
where Су and Су are derivatives of a lift coefficient on aileron angle  and on an
angle of attack .
The first member stands for the increment of a lift coefficient in a cross-section of
a wing owing to deviation of an aileron, and the second one — owing to the strains of a
wing. The more quantity, C  y  the less force is on the wing on account of declination
of ailerons, and the less is their efficiency.
The quantity C y  grows with the increase of dynamic pressure, as the strains
of a wing and therefore  increase as well.

The quantity C y  does not actually depend from dynamic pressure. In result with
the growth of dynamic pressure the difference between these quantities decreases and
even becomes equal to zero under some value of dynamic pressure:
In this case the ailerons are completely ineffective. The speed of a flight with a
y   C y 
full loss of efficiency of ailerons is called critical speed of a reverse. At
the reverse or back action of ailerons occurs.

 cp Cy

x1 

1 x2
A b

Fig. 3. Reverse of ailerons.

3.2. Critical speed of a reverse.

Let's study a condition of reverse of an aileron on an element of a wing 1b,

located in a distance l from the side of a fuselage (fig. 3). With deviation of an aileron
torque of the given element of a wing from aerodynamic force is equal:
T  Cy ( x 2  x ec )  Cy ( x ec  x 1 ) qb 2 (11)
x x x
where x 1  1 , x 2  2 , x ec  ec - are relative distances from a nose of an
b b b
airfoil up to the center of pressure of forces Cy, Cy and up to elastic center
Considering condition (10) the expression (11) we can be written as following:
T  Cy ( x 2  x 1 )qb 2 .

The elastic moment Te, which balances T, is equal:
Te  GIt .
Equating T to the moment Te, we shall have:
T  Cy ( x 2  x 1 )qb 2  Te  GIt ,
GI 1
qr  t   (12)
l Cy ( x 2  x 1 )b 2
and critical speed of a reverse Vr is equal:
1 GI 1
Vr  2 t  . (13)
b l Cy ( x 2  x 1 )

. Quantity x 2  x 1  mz , therefore a formula for critical speed of a reverse looks
as following:
1 GIt Cy
Vr  2  (14)
b l Cy mz
Critical speed of a reverse of a swept wing is equal:
V V ,
r r
  ( cos2   sin2  )1
GIt, EI - rigidity of a wing under torsion and under bending.
Estimating Vr l is a distance between the side of a fuselage and the cross-section
of a wing in the middle of an aileron which is measured along the axis of rigidity.
With increase of a wing's sweep the critical speed of a reverse decreases. This accounts
for the additional forces that appear with deviation of the ailerons and lead to such
strains of a wing which decrease these forces, and consequently, the ailerons' efficiency.
For a example, when an aileron moves downwards at the expense of bending of a wing
from force ∆Y the angles of attack of a wing's cross-sections decrease, and when an
aileron moves upwards the angles of attack increase.
The critical speed of a reverse must be larger than the speed of a flight so that at
maximum speed of a flight the sufficient efficiency of ailerons provided by
specifications was still saved. In the fig. 4 you can see the approximate dependence x
from number M of a flight. In the beginning with the increase of number M the
efficiency of ailerons increases as well. It happens because of the growth of increment
of forces at the expense of ailerons' deviation.


Fig. 4. Efficiency of ailerons.

Then owing to the strains of a wing the efficiency of ailerons decreases and at some
value of M number it becomes equal to zero. With the decrease of the altitude of a flight
the efficiency of ailerons decreases as well.
Aerodynamic heat, backlashes and elastic distortions of the control system also result in
decrease of the ailerons' efficiency.

3.3. The ways to increase the efficiency of lateral control.

x rigid wing

elastic wing


Fig 5. Effciency of ailerons on rigid and elastic wings.

It is possible to increase the efficiency of ailerons by increasing rigidity of the
construction of a wing and rigidity of the control system by ailerons. However the
reserves are limited here. The thing is that rigidity of the control system in the modern
airplanes is already large enough, and the increase of rigidity of the construction is
connected with the considerable increase of a weight.
The ailerons located in the middle, more rigid part of a wing, have less influence
on the strain of a wing and that's why they save the efficiency up to larger M numbers
of a flight. Such an arrangement of the ailerons is applied rather frequently, although it
leads to the decrease of the wing area occupied by taking-off and landing
In order to increase the efficiency of lateral control the ailerons are sometimes
supplemented with flaperons. For all this the ailerons that are on the wing tips are used
for lateral control at a low speed, and the flaperons located in the middle part of a wing
are used at the transonic and supersonic speed of a flight. Due to a rather large rigidity
of the middle part of a wing the efficiency of the flaperons is saved up to the high values
of a drag. During the take-off and landing a flaperons work as usual flaps.
The application of spoilers and differentially deflective stabilizers allows
increasing the efficiency of lateral control of an airplane. The spoilers can be used
separately or together with the ailerons. Their efficiency, though to a small a degree,
also depends on the sweep and elastic strains of a wing. The application of the stabilizer
for a lateral control is rational at large dynamic pressure (fig. 5), when the ailerons
become ineffective on an elastic wing. Technically it is very difficult to maintain the
control of the ailerons at the maximum deviation of a wing on the airplanes with a
changeable sweep wing. Therefore frequently they are not used at all. Then the
stabilizer and spoilers become the main means of lateral control. At a low speed of a
flight the stabilizer for lateral control is ineffective.
On a tail unit which is made according to the scheme "stabilizer-control surface"
the reverse of control surfaces can take place. Its essence is similar to the reversal of the
ailerons. At the deviation of control surfaces the load primarily changes in the tail part
of an airfoil. It causes such a twisting of the stabilizer at which the increment of a tail
unit lift decreases. With the increase of dynamic pressure the efficiency of the control
surfaces decreases. If a stabilizer is swept, the efficiency of the control surfaces is
falling rapidly because of the unfavorable influence of a bending on the change of the
stabilizer's angles of attack.