This airfoil prototype was created using construction guidelines from an RC plane hobbyist on Youtube, ExperimentalAirlines. He uses paper-covered foam from the Dollar Store to construct his airfoil. The YouTube video is included below.

A constraint of the glider is to be biodegradable to limit the environmental impact of our project. As a result, I attempted to replicate his airfoil construction using a sheet of 13” x 19” 150 lb cardboard. The chord for this airfoil was chosen to be 5” so it would fit on a single sheet.

Profile image of cardboard airfoil

Lesson 1: Removing the Inner Paper Layer

While it seems suitable for a foam wing, removing the paper layer did not add any benefit to the construction of the wing. It made it much more difficult to glue the trailing edges together because of the dramatic reduction in surface area.

Lesson 2: Use an Appropriate Adhesive

Clear glue, hot glue, and white craft glue were on hand. Both the clear and white craft glue took about 30 minutes to set and seeped into the cardboard. This resulted in a lot of deformation of the airfoil shape. The hot glue may have been sufficient, but it cooled too quickly and we did not have enough glue sticks. More research must be done to identify an appropriate adhesive for cardboard.

Lesson 3: Use Thicker Cardboard

The airfoil shown above is quite small and thin. The front curve of the airfoil is a flat crease instead of a curve. The cardboard was a little bit too thin, and the overall size of the sheet too small to create anything that approximated an airfoil.