Airfoil Section Drag Reduction at Transonic Speeds by Numerical Optimization
A practical procedure for the design of low drag, transonic airfoils is demonstrated. The procedure uses an optimization program, based on a gradient algorithm coupled with an aerodynamic analysis program, that solves the full, non-linear potential equation for transonic flow. The procedure is useful for the design of retrofit modifications for drag reduction of existing aircraft as well as for the design of low drag profiles for new aircraft. Results are presented for the modification of four different airfoils to decrease the drag at a given transonic Mach number.