Developments for a Swept Wing Airfoil to Study the Effects of Step and Gap Excrescences on Boundary Layer Transition
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Skin friction drag reduction is one of the most promising paths in the investigation of the reduction of aircraft fuel burn. 40 – 50% of overall drag comes from the surfaces of the wings and stabilizers. Natural laminar flow airfoils can extend the region of laminar flow and reduce skin friction drag. However, real-world aircraft wings do not have perfectly smooth surfaces, and therefore the tolerances for step and gap excrescences on these airfoils must be investigated. Previous work has focused on excrescences on flat plates, and only recently included pressure gradient effects. A new three-dimensional swept wing airfoil with an actuated leading edge (SWIFTER) has been constructed, and will extend the body of knowledge of step and gap excrescences to a more real-world configuration and higher Reynolds numbers. An integrated control system for the leading edge actuation system is proposed, including both interface hardware and control code. A heating system for the test surface is also discussed, and the controller hardware, sensors, and code specified. For wind tunnel testing, a proposed set of wall liners are developed from zero-lift condition streamlines and divided into parts suitable for manufacturing, assembly, and installation. Finally, preliminary wind tunnel step excrescence tests using an existing swept-wing model and applique step material were conducted, and the results are discussed with relevance to testing on the new model.
actuation control system
natural laminar flow
Hedderman, Simon Peter (2013). Developments for a Swept Wing Airfoil to Study the Effects of Step and Gap Excrescences on Boundary Layer Transition. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from