Term of Award

Spring 2022

Degree Name

Master of Science, Mechanical Engineering

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Mechanical Engineering

Committee Chair

Mosfequr Rahman

Committee Member 1

Valentin Soloiu

Committee Member 2

Marcel Ilie


This study serves to define the performance of several industry-recognized and exploratory wing tip devices on aircraft wings utilizing contemporary supercritical airfoil geometry. For comparison, the same examination is performed on a wing comprised of traditionally cambered airfoils, the platform upon which winglets were initially developed. The supercritical wing design is based on that of the Airbus A320, while the conventional airfoil is based upon the Boeing 737-800 platform. Tip devices selected for analysis include blended, raked, split scimitar, fence, and spiroid winglets, as well as tip sails, characterized by the spreading of a bird’s primary flight feathers. Methodology for this study includes the k-ε CFD simulation of full-scale wings, from the root profile to the wing tip (not including the fuselage) as well as experimental wind-tunnel testing to substantiate identified trends. Solution metrics include lift and drag forces, their respective coefficients, as well as simulative flow visualization as generated by ANSYS CFD-Post. It is apparent through this work that there exists a distinct difference between the performances of similar winglets on dissimilar airfoils. The supercritical wing proved to perform most efficiently when paired with a spiroid winglet, providing gains of approximately 21% at cruise conditions, while the conventional wing suffered losses with this application. Conversely, the wing composed of traditionally cambered airfoils generated the highest ratio of lift to drag coefficients when utilizing the split scimitar winglet, which happened to be the most detrimental winglet on the supercritical platform. It is the hope of the author that the findings in this study will support further developments in winglet design and application, specifically on the lesser explored spiroid and tip sail geometries.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material