Drag and cooling with various forms of cowling for a "whirlwind" radial air-cooled engine I

Weick, Fred E

This report presents the results of an investigation undertaken in the 20-foot Propeller Research Tunnel at Langley Field on the cowling of radial air-cooled engines. A portion of the investigation has been completed, in which several forms and degrees of cowling were tested on Wright "Whirlwind" J-5 engine mounted in the nose of a cabin fuselage. The cowlings varied from the one extreme of an entirely exposed engine to the other in which the engine was entirely inclosed. Cooling tests were made and each cowling modified, if necessary, until the engine cooled approximately as satisfactorily as when it was entirely exposed. Drag tests were then made with each form of cowling, and the effect of the cowling on the propulsive efficiency determined with a metal propeller. The propulsive efficiency was found to be practically the same with all forms of cowling. The drag of the cabin fuselage with uncowled engine was found to be more than three times as great as the drag of the fuselage with engine removed and nose rounded. The conventional forms of cowling, in which at least the tops of the cylinder heads and valve gear are exposed, reduce the drag somewhat, but the cowling entirely covering the engine reduces it 2.6 times as much as the best conventional one. The decrease in drag due to the use of spinners proved to be almost negligible. The use of the cowling completely covering the engine seems entirely practical as regards both cooling and maintenance under service conditions. It must be carefully designed, however, to cool properly. With cabin fuselages its use should result in a substantial increase in high speed over that obtained with present forms of cowling on engines similar in contour to the J-5. (author)

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