area rule

noun

aeronautical engineering
: a principle used to design aircraft with minimal drag at speeds approaching and in excess of Mach 1

Note: The area rule states that the more closely the progression of the cross-sectional area of an aircraft's body from nose to tail matches the progression of the cross-sectional area of an aerodynamically smooth, idealized shape, the less drag will be generated.

Called the area rule, it says that drag at high speeds is a function of an airplane's total cross-sectional area (essentially, the thickness of the fuselage). Because projections from the fuselage increase a plane's cross section, narrowing the fuselage where the wings and tail assembly attach reduces drag.Aaron Nicodemus, Telegram and Gazette (Worcester, Massachusetts), 16 Oct. 2009
area-ruled adjective
an area-ruled fuselage

Word History

First Known Use

1953, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of area rule was in 1953

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Cite this Entry

“Area rule.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/area%20rule. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

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