Dihedral is the upward angle from horizontal of the wings or tailpane of a fixed-wing aircraft or the wing of a bird. Dihedral is also used in some types of kites such as box kites. The aerodynamic stabilising qualities of the dihedral were first described by Sir George Cayley in 1808/09. Downward angled wings have negative dihedral, or anhedral. Wings with local dihedral angles that change along the span are polyhedral.
The purpose of positive dihedral is to confer stability in the longitudinal (roll) axis. Most aircraft in the civilian or transport sector use dihedral for roll stability. The dihedral angle is usually greater on low-wing aircraft, compared to an otherwise similar high-wing aircraft.
If a disturbance causes an aircraft to roll away from its normal wings-level position, the aircraft will sideslip in the direction of the down-going wing (see Fig. 1). This creates an airflow component along the length of the wing from tip to root called the relative wind. The dihedral angle can be seen as presenting a positive angle of attack to this lateral flow, hence generating some additional lift. It is this lift which restores the aircraft to its normal attitude (Fig. 2).
Military fighter aircraft often have near zero dihedral, or anhedral. This reduces inherent stability, but increases maneuverability. Many modern military aircraft have relaxed stability, and require continuous corrections made by on-board computers.
Anhedral is also seen on aircraft with a high mounted wing, such as the BAe 146 and Lockheed Galaxy. In such designs, the high mounted wing is above the center of mass which confers roll stability due to the pendulum effect also called the Keel effect, so additional dihedral is not required. In fact, such designs can be excessively stable, so the anhedral is added to cancel out some of the roll stability to ensure that the aircraft can be easily maneuvered.
Most aircraft have been designed with planar wings with simple dihedral (or anhedral). Some pre-World War II aircraft had gull wings bent near the root. Modern polyhedral wing designs generally cant upwards near the wingtips, increasing effective dihedral angle. Winglets are a special case of polyhedral.
Polyhedral is seen on gliders and some other aircraft. The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is one such example, unique among fighters for having dihedral wingtips. This was added after prototype flight testing (the original prototype of the F-4 had a flat wing) showed the need to correct some unanticipated roll instability - angling the wingtips, which were already designed to fold up for carrier operations, was a far more practical solution than re-engineering the entire wing.
Dihedral angle – angle between two planes. This is the unsigned angle between two surfaces and makes the most sense when applied to planar surfaces. Note that the prefix “di-“ does not imply up or down; acute or obtuse angles. It is simply the measured angle between two planes. To assign direction the typical prefix of “an-“ from Greek anodos way up, from ana- or “cat-“ from Greek kathodos way down, from kata- can be applied to the root “hedral”. However, in aviation the prefix “di-“ has incorrectly evolved to mean the positive, up angle between the left and right WRP (Wing Reference Planes). While the prefix “an-“ has likewise evolved to mean the negative, down angle between the WRP.
Predicting dihedral angle probability distributions for protein coil residues from primary sequence using neural networks.(Research article)(Report)
Oct 16, 2009; "Article.dtd"> Authors: Glennie Helles (corresponding author) ; Rasmus Fonseca BackgroundThe primary sequence of a protein...