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Airfoil

Credit: National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center, Mississippi State University

An airplane wing has a special shape called an airfoil. If you were to cut a wing into slices like a loaf of bread, each of the slices of the airplane wing would be in the shape of an airfoil. In addition to airplane wings, fan blades, propellers, turbines, frisbees, kites, and sails also have airfoil shapes. The airfoil shape is also very common in nature. Some plant seeds and creatures that fly through the air or swim through the water have airfoil shapes. This diagram shows a typical supercritical wing cross section, or airfoil.

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