Which Wing Design Creates the Greatest Lift? *

Areas of Science Aerodynamics & Hydrodynamics
Difficulty
Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Access to a homemade wind tunnel
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
*Note: For this science project you will need to develop your own experimental procedure. Use the information in the summary tab as a starting place. If you would like to discuss your ideas or need help troubleshooting, use the Ask An Expert forum. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions and offer guidance if you come to them with specific questions.

If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk (*) at the end of the title.

Abstract

Have you ever flown in an airplane, or looked up at one flying in the sky, and wondered how such a massive machine can stay in the air? Airplanes can stay in the air because their wings, also referred to as airfoils, generate lift. Engineers use devices called wind tunnels to experiment and test different wing shapes when they design new airplanes. Wind tunnels let engineers make careful measurements of the air flow around the wing, and measure the amount of lift it generates.

If you can get access to a wind tunnel or build your own using the Science Buddies How to Build and Use a Subsonic Wind Tunnel tutorial, then you can do a science project where you measure the lift generated by different types of airfoils. You will need to do a lot of background research about aerodynamics and the terminology involved, and you will probably need help from an adult if you are going to build your own wind tunnel. Can you compare different wing designs and find out which one generates the most lift?

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Credits

Christian H. Selby,
Andrew Olson, Ph.D., Science Buddies

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MLA Style

Science Buddies Staff. "Which Wing Design Creates the Greatest Lift?" Science Buddies, 1 Mar. 2018, https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Aero_p004/aerodynamics-hydrodynamics/wing-design-lift. Accessed 14 Dec. 2019.

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2018, March 1). Which Wing Design Creates the Greatest Lift? Retrieved from https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Aero_p004/aerodynamics-hydrodynamics/wing-design-lift


Last edit date: 2018-03-01

Bibliography

NASA's Glenn Research Center has a wealth of information on Aeronautics. We recommend that you take some time to explore this site, there's a lot of good stuff here. The "Guided Tours" are an excellent way to navigate through the material.

This page has links to several sources of information on aerodynamics:

Here is a link to an online airfoil simulation programs (requires a Java-enabled Web browser). You can test and refine your design ideas on the computer before building the actual models.

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Experimental Procedure

For this science project you will need to develop your own experimental procedure. Use the information in the summary tab as a starting place. If you would like to discuss your ideas or need help troubleshooting, use the Ask An Expert forum. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions and offer guidance if you come to them with specific questions.

If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk (*) at the end of the title.

Variations

  • If building a wind tunnel is not an option for you, it doesn't mean that you can't do an aerodynamics project. For example, kites are a great way to learn about aerodynamics. The Wright brothers used kites to test many of their design ideas for their airplane. For more information, see: The Wright Stuff: Using Kites to Study Aerodynamics.

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Ask an Expert

The Ask an Expert Forum is intended to be a place where students can go to find answers to science questions that they have been unable to find using other resources. If you have specific questions about your science fair project or science fair, our team of volunteer scientists can help. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions, offer guidance, and help you troubleshoot.

Ask an Expert

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