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Chapter 14

Thin airfoil theory

14.1 Compressible potential ﬂow

14.1.1 The full potential equation

In compressible ﬂow, both the lift and drag of a thin airfoil can be determined to a reason- able level of accuracy from an inviscid, irrotational model of the ﬂow. Recall the equations developed in Chapter 6 governing steady, irrotational, homentropic ( r s = 0) ﬂow in the absence of body forces.

r U = 0

¯

r

¯

¯

U · U + r P

2

P 0 =

P

0

= 0

The gradient of the isentropic relation is

r P = a 2 r.

Recall from the development in Chapter 6 that

r P

= 1 r P

14-1

.

(14.1)

(14.2)

(14.3)

CHAPTER 14. THIN AIRFOIL THEORY

14-2

Using (14.3) the momentum equation becomes

r ✓✓

¯

¯

1 P

U · U

2

+

= 0.

(14.4)

Substitute (14.2) into the continuity equation and use (14.3). The continuity equation becomes

U ¯ · r a 2 + ( 1) a 2 r · U = 0.

¯

Equate the Bernoulli integral to free stream conditions.

a

2

1 +

¯

¯

U · U

2

= 1 + U 1 2

a

1

2

2

= a 1 2

1 1 + 1

2

 (14.5) M 1 2 ◆ = C p T t (14.6)

Note that the momentum equation is essentially equivalent to the statement that the stagnation temperature T t is constant throughout the ﬂow. Using (14.6) we can write

a

2

1 = h t

¯

¯

U · U

2

.

The continuity equation ﬁnally becomes

( 1) h t

¯

¯

U · U

2

r · U U · r

¯

¯

¯

¯

U · U

2

 (14.7) ◆ = 0. (14.8)

The equations governing compressible, steady, inviscid, irrotational motion reduce to a

¯

single equation for the velocity vector U. The irrotationality condition r ⇥ U = 0 permits

the introduction of a velocity potential.

and (14.8) becomes

¯

U = r

( 1) h t r · r r 2 r · r r · r = 0.

2

2

(14.9)

(14.10)

For complex body shapes numerical methods are normally used to solve for . However the equation is of relatively limited applicability. If the ﬂow is over a thick airfoil or a blu

CHAPTER 14. THIN AIRFOIL THEORY

14-3

body for instance then the equation only applies to the subsonic Mach number regime at Mach numbers below the range where shocks begin to appear on the body. At high subsonic and supersonic Mach numbers where there are shocks then the homentropic assumption (14.2) breaks down. Equation (14.8) also applies to internal ﬂows without shocks such as fully expanded nozzle ﬂow.

14.1.2 The nonlinear small disturbance approximation

In the case of a thin airfoil that only slightly disturbs the ﬂow, equation (14.8) can be simpliﬁed using small disturbance theory. Consider the ﬂow past a thin 3-D airfoil shown in Figure 14.1. Figure 14.1: Flow past a thin 3-D airfoil

The velocity ﬁeld consists of a free-stream ﬂow plus a small disturbance

where

¯

U = U 1 + u

V = v

W = w

u

U

1

v

U

1

w

U

1

<< 1

<< 1

<< 1.

(14.11)

(14.12)

Similarly the state variables deviate only slightly from free-stream values

CHAPTER 14. THIN AIRFOIL THEORY

14-4

 P = P 1 + P 0 T = T 1 + T 0 (14.13) ⇢ = ⇢ 1 + ⇢ 0 and a = a 1 + a 0 . (14.14)

This decomposition of variables is substituted into equation ( ?? )(eq:original014008). Var- ious terms are

and

¯ ¯

U · U

2

= U 1 2 + uU 1 + u 2 + v 2 + w 2

2

2

2

2

¯

r · U = u x + v y + w z

(14.15)

r

¯

¯

U · U

2

as well as

= ( u x U 1 + uu x + vv x + ww x , u y U 1 + uu y + vv y + ww y , u z U 1 + uu z + vv z + ww z )

(14.16)

and, ﬁnally

( 1) h t

¯

¯

U · U

2

r · U =

¯

(

1) h t U 1 2 + uU 1

2

+ u 2 + v 2 + w 2 ◆◆ u x +

2

2

2

(

1) h t U 1 2 + uU 1

2

( 1) h t U 1 2 + uU 1

2

+ u 2 + v 2 + w 2 ◆◆ u y +

2

2

2

+ u 2 + v 2 + w 2

2

2

2

◆◆ u z

(14.17)

CHAPTER 14. THIN AIRFOIL THEORY

14-5

( 1) h t

¯

¯

U · U

2

r · U U · r

¯

¯

(

(

1) h t U 1 2 + uU 1 ◆◆ u x +

2

1) h t U 1 2 + uU 1 ◆◆ v y +

2

( 1) h t U 1 2 + uU 1 ◆◆ w z

2

¯

¯

U · U

2

=

(14.18)

u x U 1 2 + uu x U 1 + vv x U 1 + ww x U 1

uu x U 1 vu y U 1 wu z U 1 .

Neglect terms in (14.17) and (14.18) that are of third order in the disturbance velocities. Now

( 1) h t

¯

¯

U · U

2

r · U U · r

¯

¯

(

1) h t U 1 2 + uU 1 ◆◆ u x +

2

(

1) h t U 1 2 + uU 1 ◆◆ v y +

2

( 1) h t U 1 2 + uU 1 ◆◆ w z

2

¯

¯

U · U

2

=

(14.19)

u x U 1 2 + uu x U 1 + vv x U 1 + ww x U 1

uu x U 1 vu y U 1 wu z U 1

or

CHAPTER 14. THIN AIRFOIL THEORY

14-6

( 1) h t

¯

¯

U · U

2

r · U U · r

¯

¯

( 1) ( h 1 uU 1 ) ( u x

+ v y + w z )

¯

¯

U · U

2

=

(14.20)

u x U 1 2 + uu x U 1 + vv x U 1 + ww x U 1

uu x U 1 vu y U 1 wu z U 1 .

Recall that ( 1) h 1 = a 1 2 . Equation (14.20) can be rearranged to read

( 1) h t

¯

¯

U · U

2

r · U U · r

¯

¯

¯

¯

U · U

2

=

a 1 2 ( u x

+ v y + w z ) u x U 1 2 ( + 1) uu x U 1 ( vv x U 1 + ww x U 1 )

( 1) ( uv y U 1 + uw z U 1 ) vu y U 1 wu z U 1 .

Divide through by a 1 2 .

1

a 1 2

◆✓ h t

¯

¯

U · U

2

r · U

¯

a 1 2

1

U · r

¯

¯

¯

U · U

2

1 M 1 2 u x + v y + w z ( + 1) M 1 uu x

a

1

M 1

a 1

(( 1) ( uv y + uw z ) + vu y + wu z + vv x + ww x )

=

(14.21)

(14.22)

Equation (14.22) contains both linear and quadratic terms in the velocity disturbances and one might expect to be able to neglect the quadratic terms. But note that the ﬁrst term becomes very small near M 1 = 1. Thus in order to maintain the small disturbance approximation at transonic Mach numbers the uu x term must be retained. The remaining quadratic terms are small at all Mach numbers and can be dropped. Finally the small disturbance equation is

1 M 1 2 u x + v y + w z ( + 1) M 1 uu x = 0.

a

1

(14.23)

CHAPTER 14. THIN AIRFOIL THEORY

14-7

The velocity potential is written in terms of a free-stream potential and a disturbance potential.

= U 1 x + ( x, y, z )

(14.24)

The small disturbance equation in terms of the disturbance potential is

1 M 1 2 xx + yy + zz = ( + 1) M 1 x xx .

a

1

(14.25)

Equation (14.25) is valid over the whole range of subsonic, transonic and supersonic Mach numbers.

14.1.3 Linearized potential ﬂow

If we restrict our attention to subsonic and supersonic ﬂow, staying away from Mach numbers close to one, the nonlinear term on the right side of (14.25) can be dropped and the small disturbance potential equation reduces to the linear wave equation

2 xx ( yy + zz ) = 0

where = q M 1 2 1. In two dimensions

2 xx yy = 0.

(14.26)

(14.27)

The general solution of (14.27) can be expressed as a sum of two arbitrary functions

( x, y ) = F ( x y ) + G ( x + y ) .

(14.28)

Note that if M 1 2 < 1 the 2-D linearized potential equation (14.27) is an elliptic equation that can be rescaled to form Laplace’s equation and (14.28) expresses the solution in terms of conjugate complex variables. In this case the subsonic ﬂow can be analyzed using the methods of complex analysis. Presently we will restrict our attention to the supersonic case. The subsonic case is treated later in the chapter.

If M 1 2 > 1 then (14.27) is the 2-D wave equation and has solutions of hyperbolic type. Supersonic ﬂow is analyzed using the fact that the properties of the ﬂow are constant along the characteristic lines x ± y = constant. Figure 14.2 illustrates supersonic ﬂow past a

CHAPTER 14. THIN AIRFOIL THEORY

14-8

thin airfoil with several characteristics shown. Notice that in the linear approximation the characteristics are all parallel to one another and lie at the Mach angle µ 1 of the free stream. Information about the ﬂow is carried in the value of the potential assigned to a given characteristic and in the spacing between characteristics for a given ﬂow change. Right-leaning characteristics carry the information about the ﬂow on the upper surface of the wing and left-leaning characteristics carry information about the ﬂow on the lower surface. Figure 14.2: Right and left leaning characteristics on a thin 2-D airfoil.

All properties of the ﬂow, velocity, pressure, temperature, etc. are constant along the char- acteristics. Since disturbances only propagate along downstream running characteristics we can write the velocity potential for the upper and lower surfaces as

( x, y ) =

F ( x y ) y

( x, y ) = G ( x

+

y ) y

> 0

< 0 .

(14.29)

Let y = f ( x ) deﬁne the coordinates of the upper surface of the wing and y = g ( x ) deﬁne the lower surface. The full nonlinear boundary condition on the upper surface is

v

U

y = f

= df

dx .

(14.30)

In the spirit of the thin airfoil approximation this boundary condition can be approximated by the linearized form

which we can write as

v

U

y =0

= df

dx

(14.31)

CHAPTER 14. THIN AIRFOIL THEORY

14-9

or

@ ( x, y ) @ y

y =0

df = U 1 dx

df

F 0 ( x ) = U 1 dx .

On the lower surface the boundary condition is

dg

G 0 ( x ) = U 1 dx .

(14.32)

(14.33)

(14.34)

In the thin airfoil approximation the airfoil itself is, in e ect, collapsed to a line along the x -axis, the velocity potential is extended to the line y = 0 and the surface boundary condition is applied at y = 0 instead of at the physical airfoil surface. The entire e ect of the airfoil on the ﬂow is accounted for by the vertical velocity perturbation generated by the local slope of the wing. The linearized boundary condition is valid on 2-D thin wings and on 3-D wings of that are of ”thin planar form”.

Recall that (14.26) is only valid for subsonic and supersonic ﬂow and not for transonic ﬂow where 1 M 1 2 << 1.

14.1.4 The pressure coe cient

Let’s work out the linearized pressure coe cient. The pressure coe cient is

C P =

P P 1

1 U 1 2 =

1

2

M 1 2

2

P 1 1 .

P

(14.35)

The stagnation enthalpy is constant throughout the ﬂow. Thus

T

T 1

=1+

1

T 1 U 1 2 U 2 + v 2 + w 2 .

2 C p

(14.36)

Similarly the entropy is constant and so the pressure and temperature are related by

P 1 = 1 +

P

T 1 U 1 2 U 2 + v 2 + w 2 1 .

1

2

C p

(14.37)

CHAPTER 14. THIN AIRFOIL THEORY

14-10

The pressure coe cient is

C P =

2

M 1 2

1 + 2C p

T 1 U 1 2 U 2 + v 2 + w 2 1 1 ! .

1

The velocity term in (14.37) is small.

(14.38)

U 1 2 U 2 + v 2 + w 2 = 2 uU 1 + u 2 + v 2 + w 2

(14.39)

Now use the binomial expansion (1 " ) n 1 n " + n ( n 1) " 2 / 2 to expand the term in

parentheses in (14.39). Note that the expansion has to be carried out to second order. The

pressure coe cient is approximately

=

= U 1 + 1 M 1 2

2u

C P

u 2 2 + v 2 + w 2

U

1

U 1 2

.

(14.40)

Equation (14.40) is a valid approximation for small perturbations in subsonic or supersonic ﬂow.

For 2-D ﬂows over planar bodies it is su cient to retain only the ﬁrst term in (14.40) and we use the expression

C P

= 2 u .

U 1

(14.41)

For 3-D ﬂows over slender approximately axisymmetric, bodies we must retain the last term so

C P =

2u + v 2 + w 2

U

1

U 1 2

. .

(14.42)

As was discussed above, if the airfoil is a 2-D shape deﬁned by the function y = f ( x ) the boundary condition at the surface is

df

dx =

v + u = tan ( )

U

1

(14.43)

where is the angle between the airfoil surface and the horizontal. For a thin airfoil this is accurately approximated by

CHAPTER 14. THIN AIRFOIL THEORY

14-11

df

dx

=

y

U 1

= .

(14.44)

For a thin airfoil in supersonic ﬂow the wall pressure coe cient is

C P wall =

1 1 / 2

2

df

dx

M 1 2

(14.45)

where dU 2 /U 2 = 2 / q M 1 2 1 d , which is valid for M 1 1 has been used. In the

thin airfoil approximation in supersonic ﬂow the local pressure coe cient is determined by the local slope of the wing. Figure 14.3 schematically shows the wall pressure coe cient on a thin, symmetric biconvex wing. Figure 14.3: Pressure distribution on a thin symmetric airfoil.

This airfoil will have shock waves at the leading and trailing edges and at ﬁrst sight this would seem to violate the isentropic assumption. But for small disturbances the shocks are weak and the entropy changes are negligible.

14.1.5 Drag coe cient of a thin symmetric airfoil

A thin, 2-D, symmetric airfoil is situated in a supersonic stream at Mach number M 1 and zero angle of attack. The y-coordinate of the upper surface of the airfoil is given by the function

y ( x ) = ASin x

C

(14.46)

where C is the airfoil chord. The airfoil thickness to chord ratio is small, 2A/C << 1. Determine the drag coe cient of the airfoil.

Solution

CHAPTER 14. THIN AIRFOIL THEORY

14-12

The drag integral is

D =

2 Z C ( P P 1 ) Sin ( ) dx.

0

(14.47)

where the factor of 2 accounts for the drag of both the upper and lower surfaces and is the local angle formed by the upper surface tangent to the airfoil and the x -axis. Since the airfoil is thin the angle is small and we can write the drag coe cient as

C D =

D U 1 2 C = 2 Z 1

0

1

2 1

P P 1

1

2

1 U 1

2 ! ( ) d C .

x

(14.48)

The local tangent is determined by the local slope of the airfoil therefore T an ( ) = dy/dx and for small angles = dy/dx . Now the drag coe cient is

C D =

D U 1 2 C = 2 Z 1

0

1

2 1

P P 1

2 ! ✓

1

2

1 U 1

dy

dx d C .

x

The pressure coe cient on the airfoil is given by thin airfoil theory (14.45) as

C P =

P P 1

1 U 1 2 =

1

2

p M 1 2 1

2

dy

dx

and so the drag coe cient becomes

C D =

p M 1 2 1 Z 1

4

0

dy dx 2 d

x =

C

C 2 p M 1 2 1 Z 1

4 A 2

0

Cos 2 x

C

d x

C

=

(14.49)

(14.50)

2A 2 2

C 2 p M 1 2 1

(14.51)

.

The drag coe cient is proportional to the square of the wing thickness-to-chord ratio.

14.1.6 Thin airfoil with lift and camber at a small angle of attack

A thin, cambered, 2-D, airfoil is situated in a supersonic stream at Mach number M 1 and a small angle of attack as shown in Figure 14.4.

The y -coordinate of the upper surface of the airfoil is given by the function

CHAPTER 14. THIN AIRFOIL THEORY

14-13 Figure 14.4: Trajectory of a piston and an expansion wave in the x-t plane.

f

C = A C + B

x

x

x x

C

C

and the y -coordinate of the lower surface is

(14.52)

g C = A C + B

x

x

x x

C

C

(14.53)

where 2 A/C << 1 and /C

thickness function

<< 1.

The airfoil surface is deﬁned by a dimensionless

x

C

(0) = (1) = 0

(14.54)

a dimensionless camber function

and the angle of attack

x

C

(0) = (1) = 0

T an ( ) = C .

(14.55)

(14.56)

Determine the lift and drag coe cients of the airfoil. Let

Solution

=

x

C .

(14.57)

CHAPTER 14. THIN AIRFOIL THEORY

14-14

The lift integral is

L = Z C ( P lower P 1 ) Cos ( lower ) dx Z C ( P upper P 1 ) Cos ( upper ) dx.

0

0

(14.58)

where is the local angle formed by the tangent to the surface of the airfoil and the x -axis. Since the angle is everywhere small we can use Cos ( ) = 1. The lift coe cient is

C L =

D U 1 2 C = Z 1

0

1

2 1

C P lower d Z 1

0

C P upper d .

(14.59)

The pressure coe cient on the upper surface is given by thin airfoil theory as

C P upper =

C p M 1 2 1

2

df d =

C p M 1 2 1 A d

2

d

+ B d .

d

On the lower surface the pressure coe cient is

C P lower =

C p M 1 2 1 dg

2

d

=

Substitute into the lift integral

C p M 1 2 1 A d

2

d

+ B d .

d

(14.60)

(14.61)

C L =

C p M 1 2 1 ✓Z 1

2

0

d + Z 1

df

d

0

dg

d

d =

C p M 1 2 1 ✓Z

2

0

df + Z dg .

0

(14.62)

In the thin airfoil approximation, the lift is independent of the airfoil thickness.

The drag integral is

C L =

p M 1 2 1

4

C

(14.63)

D = Z C ( P upper P 1 ) Sin ( upper ) dx + Z C ( P lower P 1 ) Sin ( lower ) dx. (14.64)

0

0

CHAPTER 14. THIN AIRFOIL THEORY

14-15

Since the airfoil is thin the angle is small, and we can write the drag coe cient as

C D =

D 1 U 1 2 C

1

2

=

Z 1

0

P upper P 1

1

2

1 U 1 2

! ( upper ) d + Z 1

0

P lower P 1

1

2

1 U 1 2

! ( lower ) d .

(14.65)

The local tangent is determined by the local slope of the airfoil therefore T an ( ) = dy/dx and for small angles = dy/dx . Now the drag coe cient is

C D =

D 1 U 1 2 C

1

2

=

C Z 1

1

0

C P upper dy upper

d

The drag coe cient becomes

d +

C Z 1

1

0

C P lower dy lower

d

d . (14.66)

=

C D

2

C 2 p M 1 2 1

Z 1

0

A d

d

+ B d 2 d + Z 1 A d + B d 2 d ! .

d

0

d

d

(14.67)

Note that most of the cross terms cancel. The drag coe cient breaks into several terms.

4

=

C D

A

p M 1 2 1

d

d

C 2 Z 1

0

2 d + B C 2 Z 1

0

The third term in (14.68) is

d

d

C ◆✓ C ◆Z 1 2 d B

0

d

d

d +

C 2 Z 1

0

d !

(14.68)

C ◆✓ C ◆Z 1

B

0

Finally

d

d

d = B

C ◆✓ C ◆Z 1

0

d = B C ◆✓ C ( (1) (0)) = 0. (14.69)

=

C D

p M 1 2 1

4

A

C 2 Z 1

0

d

d

2 d + B C 2 Z 1

0

d

d

2 d +

C 2 Z 1

0

d ! .

(14.70)

CHAPTER 14. THIN AIRFOIL THEORY

14-16

In the thin airfoil approximation, the drag is a sum of the drag due to thickness, drag due to camber, and drag due to lift.

14.2 Similarity rules for high speed ﬂight

The Figure below shows the ﬂow past a thin symmetric airfoil at zero angle of attack. The ﬂuid is assumed to be inviscid and the ﬂow Mach number, U 1 1 /a 1 where a 1 2 = P 1 / 1 is the speed of sound, is assumed to be much less than one. The airfoil chord is c and the maximum thickness is t 1 . The subscript one is applied in anticipation of the fact that we will shortly scale the airfoil to a new shape with subscript 2 and the same chord. Figure 14.5: Pressure variation over a thin symmetric airfoil in low speed ﬂow.

The surface pressure distribution is shown below the wing, expressed in terms of the pres- sure coe cient.

C P 1 = P s P 1

1

2

1 U 1 1

2

(14.71)

The pressure and ﬂow speed throughout the ﬂow satisfy the Bernoulli relation. Near the airfoil surface

P 1 + 2 1 U 1 1 2 = P s 1 + 2 1 U s 1 2 .

1

1

(14.72)

The pressure is high at the leading edge where the ﬂow stagnates, then as the ﬂow ac- celerates about the body, the pressure falls rapidly at ﬁrst, then more slowly reaching a minimum at the point of maximum thickness. From there the surface velocity decreases

CHAPTER 14. THIN AIRFOIL THEORY

14-17

and the pressure increases continuously to the trailing edge. In the absence of viscosity, the ﬂow is irrotational.

r ⇥ u 1 = 0

(14.73)

This permits the velocity to be described by a potential function.

u 1 = r 1

(14.74)

When this is combined with the condition of incompressibility, r · u¯ 1 = 0, the result is Laplace’s equation.

@ 2 2 + @ 2 1

@

1

x 1

@

y 1 2

= 0

(14.75)

Let the shape of the airfoil surface in ( x 1 , y 1 ) be given by

y

1

c

=

1 g x 1 .

c

(14.76)

where 1 = t 1 /c is the thickness to chord ratio of the airfoil. The boundary conditions that the velocity potential must satisfy are

@ 1

@

y

1

@ 1

@

x

1

y 1 = c 1 g ( x 1

c

)

1

!

U 1 1 .

= U 1 1

dy

dx

1 body

1

=

U 1 1 dg ( x 1 /c ) d ( x 1 /c )

(14.77)

Any number of methods of solving for the velocity potential are available including the use of complex variables. In the following we are going to restrict the airfoil to be thin, 1 << 1. In this context we will take the velocity potential to be a perturbation potential so that

or

u 1 = U 1 1 + u 1 0

v 1 = v 1 0

(14.78)

CHAPTER 14. THIN AIRFOIL THEORY

14-18

u 1 = U 1 1 + @ @ x 1 1

v 1 = @ @ y 1 1 .

(14.79)

The boundary conditions on the perturbation potential in the thin airfoil approximation are

@ 1

@ y 1

@ 1

@ x 1

y 1 =0 = U 1 1

!

0.

1

dy

dx

1 body

1

=

U 1 1 1 dg ( x 1 /c ) d ( x 1 /c )

(14.80)

The surface pressure coe cient in the thin airfoil approximation is

C P 1 =

2

U 1 1 @ 1

@ x 1

y 1 =0

.

(14.81)

Note that the boundary condition on the vertical velocity is now applied on the line y 1 = 0. In e ect the airfoil has been replaced with a line of volume sources whose strength is proportional to the local slope of the actual airfoil. This sort of approximation is really unnecessary in the low Mach number limit but it is essential when the Mach number is increased and compressibility e ects come in to play. Equally, it is essential in this example where we will map a compressible ﬂow to the incompressible case.

14.2.1 Subsonic ﬂow M 1 < 1

Now imagine a second ﬂow at a free-stream velocity, U 1 2 in a new space ( x 2 , y 2 ) over a new airfoil of the same shape (deﬁned by the function g ( x/c ) but with a new thickness ratio 2 = t 2 /c << 1. Part of what we need to do is to determine how 1 and 1 are related to one another. The boundary conditions that the new perturbation velocity potential must satisfy are

@ 2

@ y 2

@ 2

@ x 2

y 2 =0 = U 1 2

!

0.

1

dy

dx

2 body

2

=

U 1 2 2 dg ( x 2 /c ) d ( x 2 /c )

(14.82)

CHAPTER 14. THIN AIRFOIL THEORY

14-19

In this second ﬂow the Mach number has been increased to the point where compressibility e ects begin to occur: the density begins to vary signiﬁcantly and the pressure distribution begins to deviate from the incompressible case. As long as the Mach number is not too large and shock waves do not form, the ﬂow will be nearly isentropic. In this instance the 2-D steady compressible ﬂow equations are

Let

u

u

u

2

2

2

@ u 2

@

@

x

v

2

2

@

x

2

@⇢

@

x 2

+

+

+

P 1 =

P

v 2 @ u 2

@

+ 1

@

P

y

2

@ x 2

v

2

@

v

2

+ 1

@

P

@

y

2

@ y 2

=

=

0

0

v

2

2 + @ u 2 +

@⇢

@

y

@ x 2

@

v

2

@

y

2

1

.

u 2

= U 1 2 + u 2 0

v 2 =