Source: NASA

The amount of lift generated by an object depends on how much the flow is turned, which depends on the shape of the object. In general, the lift is a very complex function of the shape. Aerodynamicists model the shape effect by a lift coefficient which is normally determined through wind tunnel testing. For some simple shapes, we can develop mathematical equations to determine the lift coefficient. The simplest model, the two dimensional Kutta-Joukowski airfoil, is studied by undergraduate students.

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