A supercritical aerofoil is an aerofoil that, principally, has been designed to delay the onset of wave drag in the transonic speed range. Typical features of supercritical aerofoils, when compared to traditional aerofoil shapes, are a flattened upper surface, a highly cambered or curved aft section and greater leading edge radius.
Benefits of a supercritical aerofoil include:
- A significant reduction in shock induced boundary layer separation
- The production of a smaller, weaker shock wave at a position further aft on the wing than tradition aerofoils
- The potential for more efficient wing design as the supercritical aerofoil allows for a reduction in wing sweep or an increase in wing thickness without the corresponding increase in wave drag that would be associated with a typical aerofoil