Dr. Ashok Gopalarathnam

Dr. Ashok Gopalarathnam

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Phone: 919-515-5669
Fax: 919-515-7968
Instructor Website
Research Website

MAE 561 Wing Theory

3 Credit Hours

Fundamentals of subsonic flow over finite wings. Analysis methods and design considerations for finite wings. Detailed development of lifting-line theory and discrete-vortex Weissinger's method for high aspect ratio wings of arbitrary platform. Overview of vortex-lattice methods and panel methods. Discussion of Munk's theorems and their use in determining optimum downwash and lift distributions for multiple and non-planar wings. Design issues for winglets, tailless, aft-tail, and canard-configured aircraft. Introduction to propeller theory.


Undergraduate course in aerodynamics or fluid mechanics or consent of instructor. Basic programming skills in MATLAB or another programming language like Fortran, C, Python, or Julia are also required.

Course Objectives

After this course, the student will be able to explain the primary features of flow over finite wings and explain the typical methods of analysis for finite-wing aerodynamics. The student will be able to use analysis techniques and design methods in determining and discussing design issues associated with different wing planforms and configurations.

Course Requirements

HOMEWORK: Three homework assignments and two programming assignments in either Fortran, C or MATLABâ„¢ or other programming language.

QUIZZES: Quizzes on Moodle, typically after every three or four lectures

EXAMINATIONS: One open-book, take-home final exam


PROJECTS: Two programming assignments and three short research blog posts on topics related to wing aerodynamics.

Textbook (Not Required)

Useful reference textbook: Katz, J. and Plotkin, Low-Speed Aerodynamics, Second Edition, Cambridge University Press, 2001.

Useful supplemental reference textbook: Anderson Jr., J. D., Fundamentals of Aerodynamics, Fifth or any recent Edition, McGraw Hill. (Previous editions will also work.)


Updated 02/15/2021


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