Postprint version. Published in Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part G: Journal of Aerospace Engineering, Volume 227, Issue 3, March 1, 2013, pages 569-573.
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Graham Doig was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/10.1177/0954410011434884.
A computational fluid dynamics study of the influence of wing span has been conducted for an inverted wing with endplates in ground effect. Aerodynamic coefficients were determined for different spans at different ground clearances, highlighting a trend for shorter spans to delay the onset of both separation and resulting loss of negative lift. The vortices at the wing endplates were not observed to change significantly in terms of strength and size; thus, at shorter spans, their influence over a larger percentage of the wing helped the flow stay attached and reduced the severity of the adverse pressure gradient which invokes separation at greater spans. Consequently, it was shown that, compared to a large-span wing, a wing with a shorter span may have a lower lift coefficient but can operate closer to the ground before performance is adversely affected.