Electromagnetic Flow Control to Enable
Natural Laminar Flow Wings
A research team has developed a solid-state electromagnetic device that, when embedded along the leading edge of an aircraft wing, can disrupt laminar air flow on command. The methodology employs a combination of high-voltage alternating and direct current electric fields and high-strength magnets to generate cross flow. This cross flow either forms vortices or trips the flow to turbulent (depending on conditions), energizing the boundary layer to keep the flow attached and prevent stall. Presumed usage would be for an aircraft to activate the device at takeoff, turn the device off after gear-up and initial climb-out, then turn it back on for descent and landing. Using natural laminar flow principles in aircraft design can reduce fuel burn by 6 to 12 percent.
Work to date: The device has been tested on a flat plate in a wind tunnel.
Looking ahead: The group plans to test the device on a remotely operated integrated drone aircraft and is targeting 2015 for tests on a Prototype Technology Evaluation Research Aircraft (PTERA).
Partner: Brigham Young University provides a wind tunnel and machining facilities to build test articles.
Efficient: Enables fuel reduction
Simple: Works with no moving parts, simplifying fabrication and maintenance
Improves safety: Facilitates safer takeoffs and landings
Industrial fluid processing Heat transfer processes
Efficient Aerospace Vehicle Technologies
Increasing efficiency in aerospace systems is a key goal across the spectrum of NASA operations.
Armstrong researchers are constantly striving to build efficiency into all phases of flight projects, through development, fabrication, and operations processes.
From a new wing design that could exponentially increase total aircraft efficiency to a novel test stand for single-engine electric aircraft, our researchers are finding unique solutions that increase efficiency.