Potential flow over a Joukowski airfoil is one of the classical problems of aerodynamics. This Demonstration plots the flow field by using complex analysis to map the simple known solution for potential flow over a circle to flow over an airfoil shape. The map is the Joukowski transformation , with the circle centered at passing through . You can vary the parameters and . The inverse Joukowski transformation then gives the streamlines. The pressure field is shown using a color-coded density plot of the pressure coefficient.

Details of potential flow over a Joukowski airfoil and the background material needed to understand this problem are discussed in a collection of documents (CDF files) available at [1].

Snapshot 1: thick symmetric airfoil at moderate angle of attack

Snapshot 2: thin cambered airfoil at moderate angle of attack

Snapshot 3: thick cambered airfoil at high angle of attack; potential flow gives no information about when separation occurs