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Aerospace Science and Technology 28 (2013) 100132

Contents lists available at SciVerse ScienceDirect

Aerospace Science and Technology


www.elsevier.com/locate/aescte

Review

Aerodynamic technologies to improve aircraft performance


A. Abbas a , J. de Vicente b , E. Valero b,
a
b

Airbus Spain, Paseo John Lennon, Getafe, Madrid, Spain


Universidad Politcnica de Madrid, School of Aeronautics, Plaza Cardenal Cisneros, 3, Madrid, Spain

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:
Received 31 July 2012
Received in revised form 11 October 2012
Accepted 24 October 2012
Available online 30 October 2012
Keywords:
Aerodynamic eciency
Flow control
Drag reduction
Innovative congurations
Flow separation technologies

a b s t r a c t
An Air Transport System has become an indispensable part of Europes economic infrastructure. The Commercial Aeronautics Sector is well aware that it has to nd an acceptable balance between the constant
erce competitive pressures upon it and the publics expectations of cheaper fares but reduced environmental impact including community noise around airports and global warming. In order to achieve such
a balance in the future, a strategy is required for competitive excellence dedicated to meeting societys
needs.
The realization of this vision cannot be achieved without signicant technology breakthroughs in the
area of aerodynamics and other disciplines such as materials and structures. Improved aerodynamic designs and the introduction of new aerodynamic technologies should play not only a key role in improving
aircraft performance but, also, contribute strongly to product cost and operability. Substantial R&T exploration and development require to be conducted in order to provide the required technologies.
In this work, a review of those technologies which show a potential to deliver breakthrough improvements in the aerodynamic performance of the aircraft is shown. The focus of this report is on new aircraft
congurations to reduce induced drag and noise, laminar and turbulent drag reduction technologies and
ow control devices, which aims to improve the performance of the airplane under separated ow conditions of unsteady nature, and to reduce the complex high-lift devices. Most of these works have been
exposed in previous KATnet conferences (Key Aerodynamic Technologies for Aircraft Performance Improvement), although a general overview of the current status of these technologies is included.
2012 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

Contents
1.
2.

3.

4.

5.

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Aircraft conguration technologies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.1.
Blended wing body (BWB) and boundary layer ingestion (BLI) .
2.2.
High aspect ratio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.3.
Engine concept . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.4.
Forward swept wings (FSW) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Drag reduction technologies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.1.
Drag reduction by extended laminar ow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.1.1.
Laminar ow technologies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.1.2.
Laminar ow on nacelles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.1.3.
Hybrid laminar ow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.1.4.
Alternative laminar ow technology . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.2.
Turbulent skin friction reduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Separation control technologies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.1.
Passive ow control devices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.2.
Active ow control devices (AFC) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.2.1.
Blowing method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.2.2. Vortex generator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.3.
Other applications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
System and certication issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.1.
Safety . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.2.
Performance and ight handling characteristics . . . . . . . . . . .
5.3.
Environment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.4.
Industrial issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1270-9638/$ see front matter 2012 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ast.2012.10.008

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101
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128

A. Abbas et al. / Aerospace Science and Technology 28 (2013) 100132

6.

Implications to aerodynamic tools . . .


6.1.
Computational uid dynamics .
6.2.
Wind tunnel testing . . . . . . . .
7.
Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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128
128
129
129
130

ing a communication platform for all aircraft disciplines concerned


directly or indirectly with aircraft performance improvement.
Within KATnet, the original environmental objectives were
translated into 10 different aerodynamic objectives (Table 1) which
were supported by sixteen design concepts (Table 2).
The necessary technology developments to fulll these design
concepts requires considerable changes in new aircraft congurations; research in cruise drag; and ow control.

New aircraft congurations.


Fig. 1. Presentation of FUSIM project (Sept. 2008, Flight Physics, AIRBUS).

1. Introduction
The European societys increasing environmental awareness has
been present always in the aeronautical community; industry; and
research centers. This has had a denite inuence in the way they
foresee the aircraft of the future. In this regard, the ACARE Vision
for 2020, a Group of Renowned Personalities in the aeronautical
eld, formulated a clear set of requirements for civil transport
aircraft operation so that the following specic goals could be
achieved:

A ve-fold reduction in accidents.


Halving perceived aircraft noise.
A 50% cut in CO2 emissions per passenger-km.
An 80% cut in NOx emissions.
An air trac system capable of handling 16 million ights a
year.
99% of all ights within 15 minutes of timetable.
Although undoubtedly important, an additional secondary objective is the reduction of the enormous dependence of the fuel
prices in the nal DOC (Direct Operating Cost) of a typical long
range aircraft. To give an idea, a Brent Crude price rise from 1.5
to 4 dollars per gallon supposes a 53% increase in the DOCs fuel
price.
Most of these goals have a direct impact on the aircrafts aerodynamic performance, mainly on aerodynamic technologies for a
more effective, environmentally friendly air transport system. The
aeronautical industry is aware that these objectives can not be
achieved only with improvements in the current standards congurations (Fig. 1). A step change in performance is necessary,
and this must be accomplished through new breakthrough aerodynamic technologies.
In this context and nanced by the European Commission, the
European Coordination Action KATnet I and II (Key Aerodynamic
Technologies for Aircraft Performance Improvement) were conceived. KATnets main objective was to support the ACAREs global
strategic approach. This was achieved by the development of a
common RTD strategy in certain technology areas, and by provid-

Corresponding author.
E-mail address: eusebio.valero@upm.es (E. Valero).

Preliminary design studies of New or Non-Conventional congurations have shown that a step change in cruise L/D and noise
are possible but that step is only about half that required.
Therefore, it will be necessary to investigate new technologies which could be applied to such congurations and which
might deliver the additional improvements in performance required to meet the target.
Cruise drag.
To deliver the required step change in cruise drag, the focus of
future research and development efforts must be on technologies aimed at delaying laminar to turbulent boundary layer
transition and at manipulating turbulent ow structures close
to the aircraft surface. The timescales involved in maturing
these technologies, particularly the ability to manipulate turbulent ow structures, are extremely aggressive and carry a
high risk.
Flow control.
Flow control technology describes a variety of techniques by
which aerodynamic performance can be enhanced to levels
beyond those which can achieved by changes to the external shape alone. The change in aerodynamic performance may
take the form of enhanced lift; reduced drag; controlled unsteadiness; and reduced noise or delayed transition. Alternatively, benets for the same levels of performance may be
accrued through reduced system complexity; less weight; less
maintenance or reduced life cycle costs.
In addition to the work on ow control technologies, work on
reducing aircraft weight including high lift and other control
surfaces is of prime importance since this has a direct effect on fuel burn through reducing overall aircraft weight. This
means that technologies to control separation must be developed also.
Besides the environmental goals, other major objectives are the
reduction of lead time and the provision of robust solutions with
improved quality. In that context, it is important to exploit any opportunity provided by enhanced or new classes of tools such as
e.g. high delity Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and powerful High Performance Computing (HPC) capabilities. Also, improved
wind tunnel technology provided by new measurement techniques
(e.g. Pressure Sensitive Paint) or model material and manufacturing processes must be exploited.
KATnet has served as a forum to expose the technology advances of both industry and academia in the above mentioned
areas. A series of conferences and workshop were organized with
great success. These conferences exposed the most recent advances
of the main aeronautic stakeholders and showed the industrys
growing interest in these topics. This review aims to describe the

102

A. Abbas et al. / Aerospace Science and Technology 28 (2013) 100132

Table 1
Aerodynamic objectives.
Environmental goals

Reduce emissions

Reduce drag

Reduce weight
Reduce community noise
Reduce source noise
Increase airport capacity
Improve affordability

Increase landing & take-off rates


Reduce airframe cost

Reduce vortex drag


Reduce wave drag
Reduce friction drag
Reduce pressure drag
Reduce critical loads
Increase structural eciency
Reduce airframe source noise contribution
Reduce engine noise contribution
Reduce separation distances
Reduce complexity

Simplied high lift system for given


low speed requirement

Reduced wake vortex signature for


given low speed requirement

Engine exhaust control & trust vector control

Engine noise shielding

Management/elimination of unsteady ow
separations + turbulent source noise

X
X

More effective (smaller) high lift devices


for given low speed requirement

More effective (smaller) control surfaces


for given aircraft control requirement

Unsteady loads control (i.e. utter


LCO and buffet onset delay)

Unsteady ow separation and


turbulent noise source

More effective gust and maneuver


load alleviation control

Turbulent skin friction drag reduction

Direct shock control

More highly loaded sections

Laminar ow promotion

Reduce vortex drag


Reduce wave drag
Reduce friction drag
Reduce pressure drag
Reduce critical loads
Increase structural eciency
Reduce airframe source noise
Reduce engine noise
Reduce separation distances
Reduce complexity

Adaptive sections

High aspect ratio wing

Table 2
Design concepts.

X
X

X
X

X
X
X

main conclusions and works presented in these series of conferences. However, the paper tries not to be limited to KATnet and,
in taking advantage of this forum, it will give a general overview
of the recent developments in these technologies. In any case, this
paper does not aim to describe separately each of these technologies in detail. Outstanding reviews can already be found in the
literature [24,38,91,98] and, although it is always possible to update those works (some of them are more than 10 years old), a
detailed and throughout description of all those technologies illustrated in KATnet is beyond the objectives and the extension of this
work. Also, the authors wish to point out that this review is biased unavoidably in favor of KATnet activities. As such, we may
have omitted unintentionally important studies pertaining to ow
control technologies. It is important, also, to highlight the diculty
associated with this task. Most of these works were presented only
in series of KATnet conferences and internal reports, and we found
no further publications in journals or international conferences.
Whenever possible, we included the reference to a journal paper
or conference proceedings but, many times, the work which is exposed here, is unpublished.
2. Aircraft conguration technologies
This general topic comprises of two main different strategies.
On the one hand, there are small modications in the geometry
which produce substantial improvements in drag reduction (friction and wave) and reduce detached areas. Small ow control devices as synthetic jets or vortex generators belong to this category.
These technologies will be described with detail in Section 4. On

X
X
X

X
X
X

the other hand, there are large geometrical modications over classical aircraft conguration or other innovative congurations which
are aimed at improving aircraft performances substantially by reducing drag and/or weight. This section is dedicated mainly to this
point.
Different lines of action can be addressed.
2.1. Blended wing body (BWB) and boundary layer ingestion (BLI)
In 1994, NASA sponsored one of the rst attempts to study
the feasibility of BWB congurations (Fig. 2). Liebecks preliminary results [63,64], showed potential savings in: fuel burn (27%);
takeoff weight (15%); operating empty weight (12%); total thrust
(27%); and a higher lift/drag (20%). The study was performed in
a 800 passenger BWB for a 7000 miles design range compared to
a conventional aircraft. Despite these promising results, an important number of drawbacks had to be solved in order to make this
aircraft technically viable. A new eld of study, related to fuselagewing integration, is identied: structural integration; aerodynamic
stability; the elimination of the conventional empennage; and the
presence of a non-circular fuselage etc.
Additionally, the engines in the considered conguration are
mounted near the trailing edge on the upper surface of the wing.
Initially, aircraft designers used pylon-mounted nacelles to avoid
problems of surface integration and inlet ow distortion resulting
from ingesting the incoming boundary layer. However, recent studies indicate that boundary layer ingestion (BLI) offers additional
benets including reduced ram drag, lower structural weight and
less wetted area than a pylon mounted conguration. Because of

A. Abbas et al. / Aerospace Science and Technology 28 (2013) 100132

103

Fig. 2. Blended wind body conguration from [64].

that boundary layer ingestion, nacelles started to attract the scientic communitys attention [91].
Boundary layer ingestion means taking the fuselage boundary
layer ow through the engines for the purpose of improving fuel
eciency. The idea comes from re-energizing the aircraft wake
which enables less kinetic energy to be wasted. Comparing the situation with a typical podded engine, it can be proved that, for a
given thrust force, less power needs to be added to a ow entering
the engine with a lower velocity. Consequently, due to boundary layer ingestion, the lower inlet velocity means that the same
propulsive force can be achieved with less power. However, the
gain is not without drawbacks, the incoming ow to the engines is
highly non-uniform and produces loss of performance, additional
stress and fatigue to the blades. Moreover, the aerodynamic blockage, associated with the fuselage boundary layer, is much larger
than that due to the duct boundary layer. Therefore, it has a major
role in the achievable ow rate and the increase in fan pressure for
a given thrust. The non-uniformity affects, also, the nozzle exit momentum ux, and the degree to which this occurs in much larger
than typically associated with civil engines. This effect can be alleviated by careful design of the input S-duct to the compressor and
the use of active or passive ow devices which energize the input
boundary layer in order to avoid detached ow and ow distortion
problems.
In order to reduce the ow pressure distortion at the fan entrance, the detailed design of the input duct, has been studied by
[77], who considered variations of the inlet duct offset; curvature
of the two bends; area ratio and scalloping of the pre-compression
region ahead of the intake. It was found that duct offset was the
most important parameter governing the strength of the secondary
ow and impacted on intake recovery. In these studies, authors
demonstrated, also, that strong pressure distortion could eliminate
the power saving related to the BLI effect.
The lack of numerical and experimental data available to compare and validate new methods and tools is an important obstacle
in the development of the BWB. In this line, Carter et al. [19,20]
conducted a series of numerical and experimental test cases on

Fig. 3. Example of total drag breakdown (2002 standard).

the Boeings BWB-450-1L model. These focused on the determination of the effectiveness of the trailing edge devices (elevons,
drag rudder and winglet rudders), tested at various angles of
attack; sideslip angles; and Mach numbers. The computational
work focused on particular cruise condition of Mach = 0.85 and
Re = 75 millions. Besides, in the range of Mach = 0.2 to 0.88 and
Re = 2.4 to 75 millions, four different congurations (no nacelles;
pylon-mounted nacelles; BLI nacelles; and redesigned BLI nacelles
[19]) were studied.
2.2. High aspect ratio
In large transport aircrafts, during cruise ight in a still air conguration, drag is mainly due to friction drag (about 47%) and
induced drag (about 43% see Fig. 3).
Several strategies to reduce the friction drag of conventional aircraft are under examinations and will be reviewed hereafter.
The induced drag which is the other big source of drag depends on the span and the lift distribution along the wing span. In

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Fig. 4. Spiroid loop (left) and downward pointing (right) wing tip devices from [42].

Fig. 5. Design box (hatched zone) from [42].

conventional large transport aircraft, the lift distribution is so optimized that no signicant reduction seems possible in the future
within the current design approaches. An alternative approach, for
a given lift, is obtained through adopting a high aspect ratio wing
or a wing tip device. Extensive literature can be found on this topic
covering the theoretical background underlying the induced drag
prediction and methods to reduce it [57]; the link between the
wingtip shapes and the induced drag [16]; and studies of different
wingtip devices [1,27,55,97].
ONERA, Airbus and Technische Universitat at Braunschweig [42]
carried out an interesting study within the M-DAW Project (Modeling and Design of Advanced Wing Tip Devices). Two different
and innovative congurations were analyzed and optimized: the
spiroid loop; and the downward pointing wingtip devices (Fig. 4).
Both concepts can have better structural characteristics related to
the wing root bending moment. For reference, we considered the
wing of a generic long haul aircraft. We compared the new solutions and the new designs with a standard blended winglet. The
modications were limited to 4% of the wingtip and the height of
the ground vehicles limited the downward device extension (see
Fig. 5). The wing was designed for cruising at Mach = 0.85.
Previous studies of the spiroid winglet [39] showed drag gains,
for a slightly lower root bending moment, of the same order of
standard wingtip devices. However, it suffers high-transonic interactions in the loop. A specic optimization to alleviate this effect was carried out. The optimization was based on 45 design
variables (sweep; maximum thickness; twist; and camber). Some
shape design variables were prescribed (spiroid size; minimum
chord length; minimum aerofoil relative thickness (5%); and thickness law with the same span extension and wetted area of the
equivalent blended winglet). Although slightly more eciency at
high CL in keeping the same root bending moment, the comparison showed a discouraging drag reduction of about 86% of the
blended winglet drag reduction. On the contrary, a detailed study
of the downward pointing winglet, which considered high and low
speed, root bending moment and lateral stability, showed some
benets without incurring any major redesign of the wing box. We
obtained promising gains of about 13% in range over a long-ight
scenario and an improvement of 46% in low speed L/D.
Another line of research was related to the box-like wing concept, which, theoretically, produced the minimum induced drag for
a given lift (Prandtl [79]). The following conditions are satised:
same lift distribution and same total lift on each of the horizon-

Fig. 6. Span eciency for various optimally loaded non-planar systems from [58].

tal wings; and buttery shaped lift distribution on the vertical tip
wings. Following these ideas, Kroo [58] showed a numerical comparison between the eciency of different non-planar conguration (induced drag of planar wing/induced drag of the non-planar
system of the same span and lift Fig. 6) for several non-planar
geometries. Each of the geometries permitted a vertical extent of
20% of the wing span. Such designs may be of interest because of
their potential for lower vortex drag at a xed span which is a key
constraint for many aircraft including very large commercial transport concepts.
This unconventional non-planar conguration provides the
technology breakthrough necessary to obtain substantial gains in
drag vortex reduction. Between these solutions, the wingtip device,
already implemented in commercial aircraft, and the joined wings
are probably the ideal Prandtl wing solution.
The practical application of a box-wing can be seen in the
Joined-Wing concept (Fig. 7). First proposed by J. Wolkovitch [107],
this kind of conguration increases substantially the high aspect
ratio with a theoretical induced drag reduction of up to 40% [35,
96]. However, several non-aerodynamics issues must be studied including the effects on stability and control, characteristics of wake
vortices or structural implications. Frediani et al. [35] carried out
a practical implementation of this concept on a modied A380.
The project focused on stability and structural issues. After an optimization procedure, they found that the rear wing could not be
connected to the rear fuselage but had to be positioned over the
fuselage itself and connected to it by means of two ns (Fig. 8).
This conguration proved to be stable in cruise ight; and, the
lift was distributed equally on the front and rear wings giving the
maximum L/D improvement. From the structural point of view, the
fuselage is equivalent to a doubly supported beam; the supports
being the front and the rear wing and, then, bending stresses in
the fuselage are close to zero in the front and rear wing roots.
The eigenmodes of the aircraft are completely different from a
conventional one; in particular, the lateral bending modes of a conventional fuselage are not longer present. The damping moment
and the moment of inertia along the pitch axis are higher than
its equivalent conventional aircraft; hence, the ight qualities are

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105

considered to be very satisfactory; but this rises problems in the


properly design of the pitch control system [34].
In the same line, it is worth mentioning the strut-braced wing
(Fig. 9) which uses a strut for the wing bending load alleviation.
This allows the aspect ratio to be increased and the wing thickness to be reduced. A thinner wing has less transonic wave drag;
therefore, it is possible to unsweep the wing allowing larger extensions of natural laminar and further structural weight savings.
The optimization of these conguration is concerned usually with
structures, weights, and stability and control [12,41].
2.3. Engine concept

Fig. 7. Example of non-planar wing conguration, Lockheed box-wing.

Fig. 8. Initial aircraft with joined wing studied by [35].

Increasing the by-pass ratio of turbofans is a successful formula


applied currently to increase the propulsive eciency. Geared turbofan (GTF) and distributed propulsion are considered to be the
technology concepts for an increased engine by-pass ratio. However, the growth of the bypass ratio is accompanied by larger and
heavier nacelles. At a certain point, the associated nacelle weight
increase and drag penalty outweighs the growth in propulsive efciency. The Contra-Rotating Open-Rotor (CROR) offers a breakthrough solution. Operating without the drag and weight penalty
of a large nacelle, the by-pass ratio is no longer a limiting factor.
However, intrinsically, the open-rotor is noisier than a turbofan at
an equivalent thrust setting. To the authors knowledge, very few
studies of open-rotor congurations can be found in the literature. To give an example, at the 2010 International Congress of
the Aeronautical Science meeting (ICAS), there was presented only
one work on this subject [60]. We could nd, also, no references to
open-rotor at the 46th AIAA Joint Propulsion Conference. This does
not mean that the scientic community is not increasing their efforts in understanding this technology. However, the main efforts
are found in an industrial framework. Clearly, different European
Projects are concerned with the investigation and application of
this technology, e.g. DREAM, NACRE and, more recently, CleanSky.
These are focused on studying tail-mounted CROR conguration on
civil aircrafts (see Fig. 10).
The European Project NACRE (New Aircraft Concepts Research)
carried out a comparative study between an Open-Rotor and a conventional turbofan. The turbofan was represented by the CFM56-5
series with 1995 technology. It had a 1.8 m fan diameter; bypass ratio of 6.6; and a maximum trust of 1915 daN These gave
a typical fuel eciency at cruise condition of 0.57 kg/hr/daN. The
equivalent open rotor had a 3.72 m diameter and maximum trust
of 1777 daN, giving a typical fuel eciency of 0.46 kg/hr/daN,
with a 20% of theoretical reduction. The results for a dened civil
aircraft mission at 33000 ft altitude with 180 pax of payload and

Fig. 9. Strut-braced wing with tip-mounted engines from [41].

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Fig. 10. Open rotor conguration studied in NACRE.

Fig. 11. Comparative study between open-rotor and turbofan technologies.

a range of 3000 NM are shown in Fig. 11. These studies obtained a


promising 23% reduction in mission fuel burn and 8% reduction in
MTOW.
Compared with its equivalent turbofan, one of the main drawbacks of CROR relates to vibration and acoustic problems, in which
the nacelle acts as an ecient noise shield. Due to the airframe
surfaces, the acoustic propagation can be alleviated by adopting
shielding and/or reection. An example is NACRE [60]s study of
the U-tail conguration (Fig. 12) In any case, signicant developments are required to integrate this engine into an aircraft.
Another important issue is the necessity to develop specic
design tools. A Contra-Rotating Open-Rotor shares some basic features with the classic propeller, for which various numerical techniques exist. However, it is the vortex and viscous wake interaction
between the pylon and the rotors and between the front-rotor and
the aft-rotor which make the picture more complex. To understand
the underlying physical phenomena specic to a Contra-Rotating
Open-Rotor, it is required to solve accurately the tip vortices and
viscous wakes which emanate from upstream stage and interact
with the second.
2.4. Forward swept wings (FSW)
The concept of FSW is not entirely new. In the investigation of
the different methods of delaying the onset of the increase of drag

Fig. 12. Open rotor conguration studied in NACRE. Acoustic interaction between
the CROR and an U-tail conguration.

for ight in the vicinity of the speed of sound, it was found that
sweeping the wings provided the most effective technique of increasing the drag divergence Mach number. Aerodynamically, the
same effect can be obtained regardless of the direction of sweep.
However, current aircraft designs favor the use of aft sweeping
in order to avoid the phenomenon of structural divergence, inherent in FSW operating at a high dynamic pressure condition,
which cannot be solved through metallic structures without a wing
weight penalty. Today, technology advances in composite materials
are providing a promise of eliminating this problem with little or
no wing weight penalty.
Some of the benets of FSW include spin resistance; extended
high angle of attack and lateral control; and lower transonic maneuvering drag. Generally, The FSW separation pattern starts from
the root and propagates gradually outboard. This allows attached
ow to be maintained over the outboard wing, and retains aileron
effectiveness at high angles of attack where, in lateral control, conventional (backward) wings may exhibit degradation in lateral control. Other additional benets of FSW are theoretical lower prole
drag due to lift and induced drag (for the same lift) [105]. Between the disadvantages, larger trailing edge sweep can strengthen
separation problems at inner wing, (worse with turbulent ow),
leading to pitch up, which can be avoided by using vortex generators, wing fence, vortilons (under-wing fences) or slotted airfoil.
There is a tendency for static divergence, provoking an unfavorable gust behavior which can be alleviated by aero-elastic tailoring
and unfavorable root mid size effect for laminar pressure distribution.
More recently, one of the main motivations for using FSW resides in the fact that transition on swept wings is strongly affected
by leading edge sweep angle. Turbulence transition at lower leading edge angles can be dominated by TollmienSchlichting (TS)
waves, whereas higher sweep angles by cross ow instabilities
(CF). Different studies have investigated the regimes and effect of
sweep on wing turbulent transition. One the main conclusion is
that transonic FSW, because of its lower leading edge sweep angle for the same 50% chord line angle (the typical location of the
shock (Fig. 13)) presents less CF [84], which theoretically can delay transition until 25% of chord at a Mach = 0.8 conguration,
doubling the laminar extension for its equivalent backward swept
wing (Fig. 14).
In this line, an optimization study of forward swept wings
(FSW) was performed as part of the novel conguration work
package in NACRE activities. The design point was dened for a
civil aircraft of 180 pax of payload; 3000 nm of range; and cruise
Mach number 0.76 at 35.000 ft (Reynolds = 23.7 millions). After

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107

3. Drag reduction technologies


Viscous drag reduction, which accounts for some 50% of the
total aircraft drag, shows one of the largest areas of potential
for improved aircraft eciency over the next 1020 years. Two
main lines are currently under development. There are investigation of laminar ow (Section 3.1); and turbulent drag reduction
(Section 3.2).
3.1. Drag reduction by extended laminar ow
Before adopting any resolutions, it is important to clarify the
different instability mechanics which may produce turbulent transition in a boundary layer. These are:

TollmienSchlichting (TS) waves are driven by viscous effect

Fig. 13. Scheme of the main aerodynamic differences between a BSW and a FSW.

a structural and aerodynamic design of the wing (giving a wing


aspect ratio of 9.5 for a leading edge sweep of 17.8), a nal inverse design phase focused on optimization of the laminar region.
For a given pressure coecient distribution taken as the target,
the procedure estimated the C p distribution by solving the Euler or NavierStokes equations on the initial geometry. Taking the
difference between the desired and obtained pressure distribution
C p , a geometry correction was computed by solving a potential
equation formulated in inverse design ( z = f (C p )); the process was repeated until convergence. Once the nal geometry was
computed, a second loop could be performed in case the stability of this wing was not the optima (Fig. 15). The nal design
gave an inboard transition moved down-stream (upper and lower
side) with the upper side dominated by TS and a lower side dominated by CF with an obtained drag reduction of about 14% of total
drag.

on the surface, they occur in two-dimensional ows and the


mid-chord region of a swept wing.
Attachment-line contamination is provoked by the boundary layer of the fuselage which propagates from the wing
fuselage junction along the attachment-line and contaminates
the boundary layer of the leading edge.
Curvature induced instability appears on shear layers over concave surfaces.
Cross ow (CF) instabilities occur in regions of pressure gradients on swept surfaces. The imbalance between the pressure gradient and stream-wise velocity inside and outside the
boundary layer provokes a secondary boundary layer ow,
called cross ow, which presents a typical infection point instability.
Most of the works addressed the need to control TS and CF instabilities. Although some examples of attachment-line contamination are shown, also, hereafter, generally, the CF are very sensitive
to free-stream turbulence and to 3D roughness whilst TS are free
of stream sound and 2D roughness. In addition, a negative pressure
gradient is favored in dampening the TS while could destabilize
CF. In any case, in a real wing, the transition is triggered by a
combination of all these effects, although, for some specic congurations, one of them can be the dominant effect.

Fig. 14. Dominan laminar turbulent transition effect for FSW and BSW. Because of its lower leading edge sweep angle FSW conguration presents less CrossFlow instabilities.

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A. Abbas et al. / Aerospace Science and Technology 28 (2013) 100132

Fig. 16. TELFONA PATHFINDER Model in ETW wind tunnel test section from [99].

Fig. 15. Algorithms for inverse design of a laminar wing.

In line with these ow instabilities, we considered different


concepts of Laminar Flow Technologies. These were:

Natural Laminar Flow (NLF) achieved by a favorable pressure

HARLS congurations and studied the application of NLF to Forward Swept Wing conguration (already discussed in the previous
section). TELFONA (Testing for Laminar Flow on New Aircraft) developed the tools to design and test an NFL wing and to be able to
predict the in-ight performance standard of an NLF aircraft.
Different activities, carried out in the TELFONA project, included:

gradient which are valid for transition dominated by TS.

Laminar Flow Control (LFC) achieved by Boundary Layer Suction. In highly swept wings t which, usually, are required for
ight at high subsonic and supersonic speeds, only suction
can control sweep-induced crossow disturbances which promote boundary-layer transition. Average suction velocity ratios
of 103 104 were proven to reduce amplitude growth from
e 26 to e 5 for a at plate boundary layer [87].
Hybrid Laminar Flow Control (HLFC) is a combination of leading edge suction and pressure gradient/shaping. Generally, suction is applied near the leading edge of a swept wing in order
to control contamination and cross ow instabilities. Appropriate shaping of the pressure distribution stabilizes mid-chord
TS. Its applicability was demonstrated by a Boeing 757 HLFC
Flight Test in 1990 and on an Airbus A320 n in 1998.
More specic approaches, that discussed here also, are active
control of transition by wave superposition [86] and span-wise
periodic distributed roughness elements (DRE) [86,87].
3.1.1. Laminar ow technologies
Delaying boundary layer transition is a well-known method for
reducing drag. To this end, signicant work has been done on Laminar Flow research with different prototypes ying already. These
are:

The ATTAS (Advanced Technologies Testing Aircraft System)


designed by German Aerospace Center (DLR) [85];

The Fokker F100 aircraft ight tests within the European


project ELFIN-II [90]; and

The Piaggio P180 aircraft or the 757 HLFC ight program [40].
Recently, the need to reduce operating expenses for new commercial aircraft has led to a renewed interest in laminar-ow technology to reduce drag in cruising. In this context, the HARLS Low
Sweep wing conguration optimized for fuel burn rather than operating costs, and the idea was discovered that, using a low sweep
wing, might unlock the option of laminar ow. Two European FP6
projects explored this concept. NACRE (New Aircraft Concepts Research) has performed multi-disciplinary assessment of turbulent

The calibration of transition tools for the ETW (European Transonic Wind Tunnel);

The investigation of the impact of noise and free stream turbulence on transition location in a 2D ow in the TsAGi wind
tunnel;
A receptivity study of traveling CF vortices to free stream turbulence and of stationary CF vortices to the surface roughness;
and
The windtunnel test of a performance NLF wing in the ETW.
These activities were structured around the design, manufacturing, testing and analysis of two wing concepts. These were
the pathnder wing, which serves to calibrate transition prediction methods for the ETW, and the performance wing, which has
to demonstrate the capacities of the HARLS NLF conguration by
Reynolds ight number. For the pathnder wing (Fig. 16), the relevant test ow conditions were:

Mach = 0.78, 0.02; Re = 15 to 23 millions;


T = 117 K;
CL = 0.1 to 0.5; and
Side slip = 0 and 4.

The wing has been designed by CIRA, DLR and ONERA using
a 3D inverse optimization algorithm with linear stability analysis. The Euler equations of gas-dynamics; the laminar boundarylayer equations for compressible ows on innite swept wings;
and the linear Parabolized Stability Equations (PSE) were solved
in order to analyze the evolution of convectively unstable disturbances. Laminar-turbulent transition was assumed to be delayed
by minimizing a measure of the disturbance kinetic energy of a
chosen disturbance which was computed using the PSE. The shape
gradients of the disturbance kinetic energy were computed based
on the solutions of the adjoints of the state equations [5]. The design point was chosen at Mach = 0.734; Reynolds number Re = 6.5
millions; and angle of attack = 2.1875 . The method showed improvements in the viscous drag, which was reduced by six drag
counts. The design obtained a pressure distribution which gave

A. Abbas et al. / Aerospace Science and Technology 28 (2013) 100132

Fig. 17. TELFONA PATHFINDER Model in ETW wind tunnel test section from [99].

Fig. 18. ETW and numerical results for pressure distributions and stability analysis
at = 0.33 from [99].

amplication N-factors in the range 5 < N CF < 8, 6 < N TS < 10


with linear chord-wise variation. Parallel isobars were obtained for
a region which, at least, extended from 30% to 70% of the span,
with transition occurring between 30% and 50% of the chord. In the
experiment, pressure taps were located on diagonal sections which
were located roughly at normalized semi-span positions = 0.33,
0.67 (Fig. 17). The results were compared, also, with the Temperature Sensitivity Paint (cryoTSP [33]) measurements obtained in the
ETW, showing good agreement with the computations [75,99],
which proved this methodology to be valid in transition prediction (Fig. 18).
Attachment-line contamination can be controlled by an adequate design of an anti-contamination device (ACD). ACD is a
passive re-laminarization device which is placed at the wings
leading-edge at a close distance to the fuselage which, rstly, aims
at stopping the span-wise propagation of contaminated ow of
the fuselage boundary layer since it reaches the wing and, secondly, at initiating a new healthy, laminar attachment line ow
on the other side of the device. In SUPERTRAC project (Supersonic
transition control [7]), a Reynolds-averaged NavierStokes (RANS)method was considered for the numerical investigation of different
ACDs [56]. The change in turbulence state of the ow and the relaminarization process were monitored through different parameters. These were: shape-factor; viscosity ratio; streamlines; and
pressure distribution. Since leading edge contamination is a local
problem, a simplied geometry of a circular half-cylinder, followed
by a thick at plate, was considered to be the leading-edge. It was
xed to a solid cylindrical representing the fuselage at a sweep angle of 65 . The ow computations were carried out for the Mach

109

number 1.7 and a total temperature of 300 K. They considered


different values of attachment-line Reynolds number (R ) ranging
from 205 to 443. Experimental evidences showed that leading edge
contamination occurred as soon as a critical value around 250 [78]
was exceeded.
They investigated two types of standard ACD shapes, namely,
two rectangular shapes with different heights (1 mm and 5 mm)
and one triangular shape (5 mm height) (Fig. 19). The main conclusion was that the rectangular ACD at a height of 1 mm was
incapable of stopping the contaminated ow, i.e., the high viscous
layer crossed over the ACD. The rectangular shape at a height of
5 mm was the most effective one; whilst, possibly due to its spiky
edge, the 5 mm-triangular shape was ineffective.
The nal design was a combination of the rectangular and triangular shape (trapezoidal shape) with sucient height (Fig. 20).
The rectangular shape with a height of 5 mm was placed on the
front side to stop the contaminated ow and the sloped triangular
side faced towards the back in order to initiate a smoother geometrical transition. This design was manufactured and tested and
showed that it stopped the contamination effectively and delayed
the critical R to 380, far beyond the theoretical value. Finally, it
was installed on the laminar wings of small supersonic transport
aircraft supplied by Dassault Aviation. The shape of the ACD was
adjusted to the shape of the wings leading-edge for a cruising condition at Mach = 1.6 and CL = 0.11.
Also in SUPERTRAC, CIRA (Centro Italiano Ricerca Aeronautica) proved the feasibility of a numerical optimization loop in
the design of a laminar supersonic wing. The optimization was
performed with an evolutionary optimization library, which used
3D Euler solver coupled with a full 3D boundary layer, and a
boundary layer stability tool which made use of the ONERA-CIRA
database stability computations. 25 twist control sections plus 68
shapes were dened as design variables functions for each section
(68 25 = 1700 variables). The following design points were considered in the computations:

Mach = 1.6;
Reynolds = 51.8 millions;
Length = 6.27 m;
Wing Area 50.0 m2 ;
CL = 0.182;
CM = 0.05; and
Maximum trailing edge angle 6 and minimum leading edge
radius 0.15 mm.

The optimization loop returns a damping of pressure peaks and


mid-chord shocks and an important enhancement of laminar ow
(from 2% to about 1012% of wing surface). This proves the feasibility of using optimization tools in the design of laminar wings.
TsAGI [23,24] studied experimentally the receptiveness of the
boundary layer to free stream turbulence levels and noise studied
at. A LV6 laminarized airfoil with 1 m chord and 35 of sweep was
measured at free-stream velocity of around 80 m/s. The experiments (Fig. 21) showed that, for very low free stream turbulence
level (0.064%), the transition could be delayed as far as 62% of the
chord. On the contrary, acoustic perturbation in the range of 2.0
2.8 Hz and a noise level of 91108 dB reduced the laminar region
to 55%. More dramatic was the effect of the free stream turbulence,
which for a 1% level limit, reduced the laminar region to only 10%
of the chord. Although, in this case, the acoustic receptivity of the
boundary layer was very low, when 3D effects were considered,
the cross ow instability mechanism dominated.
3.1.2. Laminar ow on nacelles
Recently, the NLF concept focused on nacelle applications. There
were a number of investigations carried out in the past on the

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Fig. 19. Anti-contamination devices studied in SUPERTRAC. Lower, mesh details. Upper, ow details from [56].

Fig. 20. Anti-contamination device designed in SUPERTRAC from [56].

aerodynamic interactions of the nacelle, pylon and wing. These can


be broken down into four areas [83]: interference effects of the
nacelle, pylon and wing; the effect of different nacelle position;
the effect of high by-pass ratio (BPR); ultra-high BPR nacelles; and
the ability of CFD to predict the interference effects. Today, the
larger By-pass Ratio (BPR) engines are receiving renewed attention. Larger BPR engines have better fuel eciency but larger nacelle diameters. Typically, current nacelles designs feature surface
gaps and steps congurations which can provoke laminar-turbulent
transition:
1. One aluminum lip with anti-icing system and external panels
in composite material.
2. Pneumatic anti-icing system with exhaust panel on nose cowl
external panel.

Fig. 21. The measured transition locations at various experimental conditions LV6
airfoil model (semi-bold symbols transition onset; bold symbols end of transition)
from [24].

3. Access panels on external cowls for maintenance purpose


(Temperature sensors, Anti-icing system, Oil tank).
4. Junction between xed nose cowl and moveable fan cowls.
It is important to move downstream the junctions between the
nose cowl lip and the external panel; the nose cowl and the fan
cowl; and all access panels. In this context, the nacelles designer,
Aircelle, proposed to design cowl concept which integrated nose
cowl and fan cowls, allowing an overall improved performance,
versus current nacelle design, of about 1% in SFC due to extension of the laminar ow up to the 25% of the wetted area.
Recently, Bombarbier performed a numerical optimization over
an original long-cowl nacelle candidate which showed an improvement of 7 drag counts in an isolated conguration at ow condition Mach = 0.8 and Re = 16 millions. The optimization was performed with Multi Objective Optimization iSIGHT software, which

A. Abbas et al. / Aerospace Science and Technology 28 (2013) 100132

Fig. 22. Transition prediction. Isolate nacelle.

111

Fig. 24. Suction test denition in SUPERTRAC.

Fig. 23. Suction skin connected by perforated honeycomb to structural sandwich


from [13].

used an Euler plus boundary layer computations for the external


ow and 3D compressible boundary layer stability for the analysis of transition prediction. The nacelle design methodology was
based on a target pressure optimization. Subsequently, the new design was tested in a wind tunnel and on a test ight and achieved
an improvement of more than the 10% in the extension of the laminar region (Fig. 22).
3.1.3. Hybrid laminar ow
The use of boundary layer removal through suction was a way
of maintaining extensive regions of laminar ow which, since the
fties, have been the subject of experimental and theoretical investigation [17,67]. Extensive research was undertaken to mature Hybrid Laminar Flow by suction; the inuence of swept wing effects
and suction ow rate on its eciency; and the variation of the relative drag co-ecient [9,15,24]. The technology achieved a certain
level of maturity. Consequently, it is being considered now within
the industry for future aircraft applications. The technological challenges are mainly non-aerodynamic dealing with the integration
of the complex system solutions into the wing, nacelle, n and horizontal tail plane surfaces; manufacturing surface quality including
that of suction panels; the need for an anti-contamination system,
weight of suction system, etc. In this respect, Boermans [13,14]
designed a suction skin which was connected by perforated honeycomb core to structural sandwich (Fig. 23). The typical perforation
requires a diameter of 0.1 mm and a relatively low hole density
with a porosity  1%. In order to check the maximum suction velocity for optimal performance, the solution was tested in a glider
conguration.
Additionally, the intensive use of the DNS (Direct Numerical
Simulation) allowed new perspectives of the suction concept to be
proposed:

Suction can be combined advantageously with excitation of


useful vortices (use of holes/slots to excite and support continuously useful vortices to combine the effect of suction and
suppression of secondary instability), securing and improving
suction performance;

Fig. 25. Stream-wise transition as a function of the suction velocity for different test
cases from SUPERTRAC project in [45].

Direct stabilization of secondary instability of crossow vortices by pin-point suction reveals itself successfully with relatively low suction rate (optimal for xed vortices).
Very few studies of supersonic velocities are available. In SUPERTRAC the laminar control by suction of CF-dominated laminarturbulent transition was studied at Mach 2. After a preliminary
numerical analysis, a windtunnel model was built based on a
symmetric arc-shaped airfoil with relative thickness of t /c = 0.13;
a sharp leading edge; and a chord length of c = 300 mm. The suction panel was located between 5% and 20% of the chord. The hole
diameter was 17 m. The model was mounted in the windtunnel
test section at zero angle of attack and a sweep angle of 20 and
30 (Fig. 24). The suction pressure ranged between 1.2 and 4.8 bar
for Reynolds numbers between 6 and 24 millions. The experiments
were conducted in the Ludwieg Tube Facility (RWG) at DLR. As
shown in Fig. 25, a signicant delay of laminar turbulent-transition
can be obtained (typically from 20% to 60% of the chord). It was
observed, also, that, beyond a certain level of suction velocity, no
further improvement was obtained.
The HISAC project investigated the application of laminar ow
technology for a business supersonic jet. The aircraft was a swept
wing monoplane. The wing and horizontal tail were tailored in order to keep the ow laminar over a large portion of the wing/tail
area. The wing design beneted from an imposed negative pressure gradient over the largest possible length of local chords. The
laminar wings were tested in the ONERA-S2MA wind tunnel at
Mach = 1.6 and Re = 7 millions. By using suction and cooling,

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A. Abbas et al. / Aerospace Science and Technology 28 (2013) 100132

shown, also, that, although critical N-factors for linear PSE analysis differed little from classical theory for standard experimental
datasets, when the effect of the leading edge curvature was taken
into account, a different picture emerged. In this case, the leading
edge modes were inuenced positively by the curvature and, compared to the HLFC for the same design, resulted in a reduction of
24 suction mass ow rate and an increased benet of 9% without
curvature effects.
As a nal remark concerning the Hybrid Laminar Flow Control (HLFC) technology demonstration, a test ight was planned in
the framework of the JTI-SFWA project. The new outer wing elements of the A340 wing incorporating HLFC could be ight tested
in 2014.

Fig. 26. Applications of NLF & HLFC concept on a supersonic test (HISAC project).

the laminar studies focused on high-sweep wings. The main results showed that Natural Laminar Flow should be achievable on
the outboard wing, which could be enhanced by using laminar
ow cooling, whilst suction and the use of anti-contamination devices were needed to maintain laminar ow on the inboard wing
(Fig. 26). The orders of magnitude of the suction rate were between 0.0005 and 0.001 at the upper side and 0.001 at the lower
side, giving a 50% upper surface transition location and an estimated viscous drag reduction of 28.5% (7.2 dc) [70]. The main
diculties, in maturing the concept, were the design of high-lift
devices and the development of de-icing system compatible with
the laminar ow concept.
The City University London [8] employed Parabolized Stability
Equations (PSE) to consider the effect of Mach and Reynolds numbers on the stability of boundary layers (Fig. 27). They showed
that the critical N-factors decreased faster as the Mach number
and Reynolds number increased. This corrected the previous stability analysis which did not consider the compressibility. To obtain a comprehensive idea, a typical decrease of N-factor from
5.8 to 4 suggested an increase in the suction mass ow rate of
9% and an increment in the pump pressure ratio from 2.0 to 2.5
which decreased by 9% the expected benets in drag reduction of
HLFC (after deducting system weight and power penalties). It was

3.1.4. Alternative laminar ow technology


The current advances in micro and nano machining and electromechanical fabrication have facilitated the emergence of alternative methods in promoting laminar ow. Identied research
lines include the polishing of the surface; application of distributed roughness to delay CF; active control of TS by mass-less
jets/surface actuation; and laminar ow control by heat transfer or
plasma. Such technologies may offer a more lightweight solution
than the conventional hybrid laminar ow system. However, more
research is required to understand the viability of such approaches
both in terms of the fundamental ow physics of how transition
can be delayed and the resultant control system requirements.
Polishing the leading edge is one way to extend the laminar
ow region. Test ights conducted by the Texas A&M Flight Research Lab in a Cessna O-2A Skymaster showed 80% laminar ow
at Re = 8 millions, = 30 , obtaining N factor > 16. The advantage was that it was necessary to polish only 10% of the chord to
be ecient. However, typical of ight conditions, adequate evaluation requires very low free-stream turbulence, which makes it
impossible to calibrate in wind tunnel testing. Other disadvantages
are associated to the manufacturing process like the necessity to
use harder surfaces to reduce roughness or the use of leading edge
Krueger aps to protect during landing and takeoff.
The Micron Sized Roughness (MSR) concept (or periodic Discrete Roughness Elements, DRE) can control the stationary cross
ow vortices. The idea is to create an articial surface roughness
which introduces weakly growing wavelength, s , which generates
a modied mean ow which is stable to all wave-lengths greater
than s . This concept was checked by Saric [87] who demon-

Fig. 27. Critical N-factor for TS wave as a function of the Mach and Reynolds numbers from [8].

A. Abbas et al. / Aerospace Science and Technology 28 (2013) 100132

113

Fig. 28. Swept wing in ight tests (SWIFT).


Fig. 30. MSR concept tested in the S2MA wind tunnel (SUPERTRAC project).

Fig. 31. Visualization of boundary layer transition for the NLF(2)-0415 airfoil at Re =
2.2 millions. Left uncontrolled, right controlled.

Fig. 29. Flight measurements carried by W. Saric with painted LE et DRE concept.

strated that the DRE could increase laminar from 30% to 60% of
the chord at Re = 8.1 millions; sweep angle of = 30 and velocity of 92 m/s (Mach  0.28). The experiments were performed
on the Swept Wing In Flight Tests (SWIFT) (Fig. 28) mounted in
a Cessna O-2A Skymaster at the Texas A&M Flight Research Laboratory. A detailed computational study was performed in advance.
The design obtained a pressure minimum between x/c = 0.7 to
0.8, making the boundary layer subcritical to TS instability whilst
destabilizing crossow waves. The nose radius was restricted to
Re < 100, making an attachment-line subcritical to instabilities
and contamination. Finally, the Cp distribution was optimized by
crossow control. The computation was performed on the Euler
and NavierStokes equations for Cp and boundary layer calculations; OrrSommerfeld for stability; and Parabolized NavierStokes
for nal assessment [44].
Stability calculations veried that the 4.5 mm wavelength was
extremely un-stable and that s = 2.25 mm was the candidate to
control crossow. Two layers of DRE were placed at 1% x/c on the
inboard pressure row, and 1.3% x/c on the outboard pressure row.
The DREs were 2.25 mm spacing, 1 mm of diameter and 30 microns high. For this conguration the transition of the chord moves
from 30% to 60% (Fig. 29).
SUPERTRAC and HISAC projects and, within the UK national
AERAST project for transonic congurations, studied, also, micronsized roughness elements for supersonic congurations. In SUPERTRAC [6], in a swept wing with a strong ow acceleration, the
transition was triggered by CF instabilities. Controlling this type
of instability required the knowledge of the target mode of the
most amplied natural vortices. Then, theoretically, a killer mode
generated articially by MSR and arranged along the leading edge
could interact with the unsteady mode resulting in a more stable
evolution. The success of this approach depended on the pressure
gradient and on the choice of the killer wavelength [88]. In SUPERTRAC, a row of MSR were implemented on the wing leading
edge, using rows of roughness elements of 10 m height and 0.2
or 0.15 mm in diameter; Reynolds from 3 to 7 millions; and sweep
angle from 15 to 30 (Fig. 30). Unfortunately, no clear positive ef-

fect was observed, according to receptivity computations, the used


MSR lay at the limit of eciency in terms of height and diameter. Probably, new manufacturing processes and/or tests at a larger
scale are needed.
More recently, Sui-han et al. [100], in collaboration with Airbus, studied the NLF(2)-0415 airfoil with a 45-degree sweep wing.
The experiments were performed at Reynolds 2.2 millions and
50 m/s in the Northwestern Polytechnical Universitys Low Turbulence Wind Tunnel (0.05%). One line of DREs were disposed at
1.7 mm spacing roughness located at x/c = 3.5%, with a diameter
of 0.7 mm and a mean height of 19.25 m. The separation was selected based on the most unstable wavelength of 3  3.3 mm. As
observed in Fig. 31, the region downstream of the roughness, the
transition was suppressed successfully until the trailing-edge.
Drag reduction, by means of active control of TS, could allow
the laminar ow to extend in dicult conditions (adverse pressure
gradient, high Reynolds number). The control of boundary layer
transition by wave-superposition is not new [102], but putting this
idea into practice is not an easy task. The principle of an Active
Wave Control System (Fig. 32) considers two steps. These are:

The TS waves measurement with a reference-sensor;


The counter-wave actuation and the monitoring of results with
an error sensor which allows the control to be adapted.
The successful application of the sensoractuator system in the
range of Ma = 0.20.5 has been carried out by TU Berlin [3032].
The TS wave amplitude has been reduced by 90% (at the error sensor) in the wind tunnel and around 50% in ight (with a glider),
yielding to substantial delay of laminar-turbulent transition. The
experiments were performed in a two-dimensional NACA0004 prole of 750 mm of chord length. The wind tunnel was provided
with an adaptive test section so that the pressure prole could be
changed to force the transition in the planar region of the NACA
prole where the experimental facilities were disposed. The free
ight test was done in an unswept Grob G103 Twin II Glider at
22.5 m/s with the actuator located at 47% of the chords length.
The diculties for using this technique at higher Mach numbers
were linked to the development of oblique TS. In order to develop
these technologies, it is important to acquire more information

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A. Abbas et al. / Aerospace Science and Technology 28 (2013) 100132

Fig. 34. Typical riblet geometry from [36].

layer stability. The experiments performed by [59] in a at plate


at u = 30 m/s, T = 290 K, and the Reynolds number, at the anode
position of Re  1 millions concluded that the plasma ow produced a signicant increase in the value of the critical Reynolds
number and constrained the range of unsteady TS wavenumbers.
In any case, further experimental and theoretical validations must
be performed to evaluate the real performance of these methods.
3.2. Turbulent skin friction reduction

Fig. 32. Principle of an active wave control system (TU Berlin).

Fig. 33. Dielectric barrier discharge actuator.

about the properties of TollmienSchlichting waves. Another important issue is the design of a robust control system capable of
managing more realistic congurations.
Other alternatives for laminar ow control come from heat
transfer and plasma actuation. In the past, controlling the temperature of the wing skin was found to be relatively inecient.
However. with micro fabricated lms and sensors, it may be possible to control the heat transfer using relatively small amounts
of energy which could make this solution more attractive. The
HISAC project considered the new approaches and could be applied to nacelles in the future.
The application of a near wall direct current to create a corona
discharge can delay the laminar-turbulent transition by generation
a body force [52] which accelerates the boundary layer ow in the
stream-wise direction. Theoretical estimations [49] revealed some
benecial effects of this method in drag reduction if the boundary
layer included both laminar and turbulent parts [53,54,59]. A relatively simple device employs two thin electrodes, separated by a
dielectric barrier (Fig. 33). Alternating voltage is applied between
two electrodes ionizing the air and creating plasma. The movement
of the ions transfers global momentum to the neutral air which is
perceived macroscopically as a body force on the ow. However,
the design of the experiments is not trivial, and it is important to
know the parameters of the plasma actuators (dimensions; current
strength; applied voltage; etc.), which can inuence the boundary

Even if laminar ow control is successful, a signicant proportion of skin friction drag due to turbulence remains. This section
discusses the different technologies: riblets and dimples or surface
actuation which aim to reduce the turbulent drag.
Riblets are small surface protrusions, aligned with the direction
of ow, which confer an anisotropic roughness to a surface. They
are one of the few techniques which have been applied successfully to the reduction of the skin friction in turbulent boundary
layers, both in the laboratory and in full aerodynamic congurations. From an aerodynamic perspective riblets were identied as
a mature technology which could provide modest reductions (7
8% skin friction drag reduction for riblet spacing of approximately
15 wall units) in aircraft drag. Flight tests conrmed total drag reduction of 1.6% (5% of Cd on 66% of the wetted surface) for an
A320 model (proved in the S1MA Onera Wind Tunnel). The current development of riblets is in line with a better understanding
of the physics and the application of surface technologies like the
aerodynamic evaluation of riblet material for turbulent skin friction reduction. A current analysis of the status of this technology
can be found in [18,25,104]. The physical mechanism of the riblet
drag reduction effect is caused by a protrusion height between the
virtual origin, seen by the stream-wise shear ow and some mean
surface location. This offset would result in a greater separation
between the wall and the turbulent stream-wise vortices, reducing
the exchange of momentum at the wall [10,46]. The correct explanation of the underlying physics is still a topic of research. In
this line Garcia-Mayoral and Jimenez [36] found that the groove
cross section A +
g , expressed in wall units, was a better characterization of this breakdown than the riblet spacing, with an optimum
1/ 2
( A+
 11 (Fig. 34). However, the drag reduction was affected
g)
greatly by the riblet spacing and size or orientation which, in some
cases, could produce drag increase. Other non-aerodynamic issues
were maintenance of riblet shape and adhesive over operational
life (hydraulic uid, dirt, deformation by hail and maintenance); visual appearance, and time required to install, remove and re-apply
riblets.
Dimples are regular arrangements of surface depressions distributed along the wall. Dimples are a well-known measure to
increase the heat-transfer from a wall [21]; however, they can be
useful for drag reduction. Compared to riblets, they can be advantageous since they are composed of macroscopic structures which
are less sensitive to dirt and mechanical degradation. Despite its
expected interest, very few works could be found in the literature,
e.g. only two articles about dimples were presented at the last
49th Aerospace Sciences Meeting of 2011, and some preliminary
studies [65] were somewhat discouraging by showing very complex structures inside the dimple and little or no improvements in
turbulent drag reduction. These made them unattractive due to the
costs associated with their operation.

A. Abbas et al. / Aerospace Science and Technology 28 (2013) 100132

Since the potential drag reduction could be large, the possibility


of using nano or micro scale electro-mechanical systems to control
the development of turbulent structures in the boundary layer was
investigated also. One interesting drag reduction technique, which
is conceptually simple and has the potential for a positive energetic budget, is the cyclic span-wise movement of the wall [29,
81,82]. In this active technique, the wall moves sinusoidally creating a traveling wave which alters substantially the near-wall ow
structure. The main features of the oscillating wall technique are
the existence of an optimal frequency to maximize signicantly
drag reduction, which can be as high as 45% when the amplitude
of the oscillation is comparable with the ow center line velocity. Following this idea, Tardu and Doche [101] showed how the
reaction of the near wall turbulence and the drag were sensitive
to the temporal waveform of the localized time periodical blowing. The injection velocity is periodical and asymmetric in time,
with a rapid acceleration phase followed by a slow deceleration
one. Mainly in the deceleration phase, the ow is re-laminarized
during 70% of the oscillation period. Induced by the blowing, the
latter maintains the stability pf the vorticity layer and prevents its
rollup contrary to a sinusoidal time periodical blowing. Therefore,
a time mean drag reduction of 50% is obtained in the region recovering 200 wall units downstream of the blowing slot. This is 40%
greater than the drag reduction obtained by a steady blowing with
the same time mean severity parameter.
Unfortunately, the effectiveness of these method decreases as
the Reynolds number increases [22]. To overcome this constraint,
Pamies et al. [74] proposed the use of a simple modication of Opposition Control (OC) to increase the performance at high Reynolds
numbers and, thereby, showing a signicant improvement on drag
reduction when performing a blowing-only opposition control. The
analysis was performed by a LES numerical simulation in a spatially developing at plate (fully turbulent ow) at Mach = 0.1,
Re = 1100 and Re = 3300. This showed a local drag reduction
of up to 61% in the area of control and, in the analysis, approximately ve times the boundary layer thickness.
The physical realization of this surface waves can be done by
using Electro-Active Polymer (EAP) [28]. EAP, also referred to as
Maxwell Stress, is based on the compression, by electrostatic pressure, of an elastomer lm, which is applied by compliant electrodes upon the application of an electric eld. By virtue of incompressibility, the compression of the elastomer results in an
elongation of the membrane which is used for actuation. This
allows continuous surface deformation, both in-plane and out-ofplane. With this material, it is possible to create an array of active
dimples which act as time dependent depressions and which allow changes in frequency and amplitude. These inject local ow
disturbances capable of interacting with structures existing in the
turbulent boundary layer. A similar effect can be obtained by using
energy deposition (plasmas).
4. Separation control technologies
Separation is a continual source of nuisance for the aircraft.
At low speed, maximum lift, it is related directly to the existence of ow separation. For highly deployed high-lift devices, the
maximum lift is obtained immediately before an extended ow
separation region appears. Additionally, highly detached and unsteady ows in gaps, slots and cavities in landing gear are the main
sources of aero-acoustic noise. In a high speed regime, the causes
of concern come from reducing the inuence of the shock with
the upper surface boundary layer and delaying the Mach number
at which this interaction leads to ow separation and buffet.
The control of high lift induced separation on an airfoil may
improve the ight envelope of current aircraft or even simplify
the complex and heavy high-lift devices on commercial airframes.

115

Now, traditional high-lift systems have evolved greatly with only


small improvements in current aircraft performance. An innovative
step is necessary to obtain the desired improvement in L/D and
CLmax. This level of improvement allows an increase in payload
and reduced landing speed and, therefore, reduces noise emissions
and increases aircraft safety.
Separated ows can appear in at least two different conditions.
These are progressive boundary layer separation (PBLS) such as
trailing edge separation, which displaces progressively upstream
when the angle of attack is increased, and very localized boundary layer separation (LBLS) such as those generated by geometrical
discontinuities. These two ow separation types can be found on a
wing in high lift conguration. For instance, the PBLS type can be
observed either on a slotted ap leeward side or on the leeward
side of the main body trailing edge near the pre-stall angles of attack. LBLS type ow separation can be observed near the leeward
leading edge of the main body at stall and post-stall angles of attack, and, also, near the hinge line of a strongly deected aileron.
The use of ow control devices to control ow separation has
very attractive properties; at high speed, they can delay the onset
of buffet, and enable more aggressive low-drag designs or lighter
structures with the same aero-performance. At low speed, they can
enable simpler congurations and mechanisms, e.g. xed leading
edge; short chord slat; simple hinged ap; and improve take-off
lift to drag ratio or recover performance for alternative platforms
e.g. increased sweep or taper. In term of ow control actuators,
a PBLS type separated ow can be controlled with suciently upstream mechanical or pneumatic discrete vortex generators (VG).
A LBLS type separated ow can be controlled by a pulsed synthetic
jet slot (located very near to the separation onset) (Kroo [58];
Wygnanski [108]; McCormick [71]; and Courty et al. [26]), by a
pulsed blowing jet slot or pulsed pneumatic VGs (Kilbens and
Bower [50]).
Numerous research activities on Separated Flow Control were
undertaken in the USA and Europe, with many wind tunnel
demonstrations. These works allows the assessment of the effectiveness of various actuators and various kinds of actuation, as
well as the optimal parameters of such devices (geometry; size;
orientation; ow rate; and frequency). A particular problem with
this approach is that the use of wind tunnel models requires the
use of smaller actuators than needed for in ight demonstrations.
Moreover, in pneumatic pulsed actuators, for instance, actuation
frequencies are usually an order of magnitude which are higher in
wind tunnel demonstrations than during ight demonstrations.
Flow control technologies can be divided into passive, active
and reactive. Passive systems do not require a power input for their
operation but have, in general, a drag penalty during cruise operation. Examples are vortex generator (VG) or sub-boundary layer
vortex generator (SBVG). An active system requires some power input to work. Between them, we can nd uidic vortex generators,
pneumatic synthetic jets, electrical or plasma actuator or magnetic. Finally, a reactive system possesses some kind of intelligence
and actuates according to the information supplied by the sensor.
As described in previous sections, these kinds of systems are usually more suitable for boundary layer stabilization processes.
4.1. Passive ow control devices
Passive VG are simply small aspect ratio airfoils mounted normally to the lifting surfaces ahead of the ow separation point in
order to energize the boundary layer and to prevent separation.
The only difference with SBVG, also known as low-prole vortex generators, is that SBVG are submerged below the boundary
layer to reduce the drag penalty. VG and SBVG can be classied as
PBLS ow control actuators. Typical applications of these devices
are the control of low-speed separated ows in adverse pressure

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A. Abbas et al. / Aerospace Science and Technology 28 (2013) 100132

Fig. 35. Numerical surface streamlines of a backward-facing wedge VG at Mach 2.5


from [61].

gradient and supersonic shock-induced separation. Although it has


been proven that the VG reduces the separation zone, there is no
existing satisfactory explanation of how they act. Lu et al. [68] described a detailed review of the underlying physics and ow topological structures, presented around these devices. This was mainly
for SBVG at high speed, where it was shown that, although conventional, vane-shaped vortex generators were well established (they
produce a par tip vortices which entrains free-stream uid, and,
thereby, energizing the boundary layer), other congurations, as
forward and backward-facing wedge or wishbone and doublet type
Wheeler vane (better suited for high-speed ows in view of its robustness and produced typically a dominant horseshoe vortices)
showed an extremely complex ow topology (Fig. 35). This behavior can be explain because of the presence of a tiny, sub-boundary
layer protuberance which arises from the ow separating off the
slant sides, showing that understanding the unsteadiness of the
ow caused by these devices and its effects on the external ow
was not as easy as expected. A second debatable approach is the
presence of an instability mechanism triggered by the VG which
is thought to produce a train of either hairpin vortices or vortex
rings which entrain high momentum of the free-stream uid.
VG are found to be best suited for applications where, relatively, the ow-separation locations are xed and the generators
can be placed close upstream of the separation. The effect of different parameters (device height; length; spacing; and stream-wise
distance) involved in its design was discussed in [66]. The results
showed the effectiveness of the low-prole VG h/  1, ; the
boundary layer thickness; and h the height of the device in eliminating the inection point in the pressure distribution, thus allowing a signicant reduction of separated area. Taller VGs (/  1)
reduce, also, the detached area but at the cost of causing a strong
modication of the input ow, creating 3D ow structures (Fig. 36)
with a subsequent drag penalty. In any case, it is important to
emphasize the strong inuence and sensitivity of the different pa-

rameters involved in their congurations in order to obtain the


optimum results.
More recent applications of these devices are found within the
AWIATOR project, where SBVGs were mounted on the ap upper surface producing the delay of ap boundary layer separation
only when the ap was deployed (Fig. 37). When the ap was
stowed, the SBVG were contained in the cove region under the
wing shroud. The design was tested on an A340. Computational
analysis; wind tunnel testing; and ight test validation were carried out to obtain an optimized design. The addition of SBVGs
to the ap at = 35 deection increased the lift coecient by
up to 2.2% over a wide incidence range compared to the baseline conguration of = 32 without SBVGs. The effect of SBVGs
at a xed landing ap deection increased the lift coecient CL
from 0.01 to 0.04 over part of the incidence range. As expected,
this indicated that the vast majority of the lift increase was due
to an increase in ap angle. A trend to a small increase in drag
of 4 counts (Cd = 0.0004) in takeoff conguration was within the
repeatability of the wind tunnel balance and, therefore, deemed
insignicant. Although the stall was produced 0.3 early, the ight
test conrmed this improvement in the behavior of the ap at 35 ,
with an increment of CL of approximately 2.5% at the reference angle of attack.
QinetiQ studied experimentally, in the DERA (Defense Evaluation and Research Agency) high speed wind tunnel, different SBVG
arrangements to prevent the onset of buffet. The SBVG were disposed at 55% of the chord, ahead of the shock. The results showed
that split vane SBVG performed better than wedges in delaying
separation in these congurations. However, the ideal location of
the VG was not obvious. Additionally, the effect of the wing sweep,
which was not considered in basic studies, could be the cause of
discrepancies between the expected rate of boundary layer growth
(much higher) and the optimum VG height. Another important application was found in improving attached ows in pylon-wing interference or internal ows S-duct engine air-intake congurations
(Fig. 38). Studied by Onera, QinetiQ or numerically by KTH [103],
vane and air-jet VG arrays were effective when located ahead of
the separation.
A more energetic approach is the passive air jet vortex (AJVG)
generator (Fig. 39). Studied by City University [80], they can be
used at low speed to prevent detaching or, at high speed, to control buffet. The idea of the slots is to inject fresh momentum to
the boundary layer particles which have been slowed down by the
action of viscosity. The analysis at Mach = 0.1, Re = 1 millions and

Fig. 36. 0.2 (0.8 right)-high vane-type counter-rotating VGs at 10 h (6 h-right) upstream of baseline separation from [66].

Fig. 37. Flap separation controlled by VG. Stow inside the ap well.

A. Abbas et al. / Aerospace Science and Technology 28 (2013) 100132

117

Fig. 38. Flow control application to S-duct engine air-intake.

Fig. 39. Passive air jet vortex system.

an angle of attack of 18 was performed on a NACA23012C aerofoil a modication of the NACA 23012. The model was equipped
with a span-wise array of 15 air jets of 4.8 mm diameter circular orices, located at 12% chord and spaced equally with 45
mm between the jet centers. The upper surface was connected
to the lower surface at 4% of the chord. The air jet orices were
designed with 30 pitch angle and 60 skew angle to the local
aerofoil surface and free-streamow direction. Experimental validation was performed at the City University T2 Low speed wind
tunnel. For the CFD study, a commercial 3D time marching Navier
Stokes (NS) ow solver with the SpalartAllmaras, and the ke
and kw (SST) turbulence models were employed. The passive air
jets were found to increase maximum CL by 14% compared to the
baseline conguration and to delay the onset of trailing edge separation by 2 . The occurrence of stall, indicated by maximum CL,
was found to be delayed from 1516 to 1819 , whilst, similarly,
pitching moment stall was seen to be delayed 2 . These effects
were the same than would be expected using actively blown air
jets operating at an equivalent blowing momentum coecient C
(see denition in (1)) but were achieved by a natural process with
no active energy input.
Another important issue is related to the numerical tools which
were used in the computations for the design and validation of
these devices. Different scales of accuracy can be used. Because of
the turbulent unsteady nature of this ow, usually, detailed LES
simulations are necessary. This solution is very computationally
demanding and, currently, unfeasible to use in an industrial design
loop. The second option is to partially resolve the ow features.
Here, the devices are modeled by surface and volume sources
which generate structures resolved within the mesh (3D). At this
stage, reduced order models are considered also [95]. The third and
less expensive solution is to represent the device in a RANS average model. This is a statistical approach whereby no structures are
resolved and requires the same computational cost as for a RANS
computation [103]. One of the most renowned models is the BAY
Vortex Generator model, based on the lifting-line theory, which
was developed originally by Bender et al. [11]. This model suggests a correlation between a force over a nite lifting surface and

Fig. 40. Sketch of the OA209 airfoil nose showing the leading edge extruded vortex
generators from [47].

the strength of the vortex which is generated at its tip. Therefore,


a force has to be added in the ow in order to create a vortex.
Jopubert et al. [47] carried out an interesting study to check
the performance of the CFD methods in these devices. The geometry investigated was the rotor blade airfoil OA20910 modied with
the addition of a row of co-rotative Vortex Generators (VG). The VG
consisted of a 1.0 mm thick frame extruded from the leading-edge
surface in the forward direction. Each VG was 115 mm distant
from each other in the span-wise direction and had a swept angle
of 18 (Fig. 40). The ow case was a low speed static stall test case
at Mach = 0.1617 and Re = 1.8 millions based on the chord length
of 0.5 m. The used CFD method was the ONERA multi-application
aerodynamic code Elsa which solves the URANS equations for
structured multiblock grids in nite-volume methods. The computational results were compared to experimental pressure data;
lift and moment coecients; and the Laser Doppler Velocimetry eld. Without performing a detailed convergence analysis, a
fair agreement was obtained between experimental references and
computations. The solutions provided a better understanding of
the vortex generation mechanisms and the inuence of the Vortex Generator thickness was discussed also. A VG with 1/5 of the
original thickness delayed signicantly the stall; the reason could
be explained by a higher vortex dissipation in the thicker VG. Finally, the results were compared with those obtained with a BAY
model. The results agreed with the thin VG (tVG) computations;
and for the lift and moment coecients; the generated vortex circulation; and the vortex aspect. However, it failed to reproduce the
effect of the thickness present in the original VG. This was not unexpected since the BAY VG model was designed for innitely thin
Vortex Generators.
4.2. Active ow control devices (AFC)
Conventional AFC systems are focused primarily on the mitigation of ow separation to energize the incoming boundary layer
by coupling to the instability of the separating shear layer on the

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A. Abbas et al. / Aerospace Science and Technology 28 (2013) 100132

time scale of the ow about the airfoil or injection of mass and


momentum. A very interesting, historical and in-depth review of
ow separation by periodic excitation including the parameters involved, underlying physics and multiple applications can be found
in [38]. The studies, most of them about simple congurations like
ap and single airfoils, show that the use of active ow control
methods is not new and, even in the Sixties, some works could
be found for steady blowing. However, the increasing environmental awareness of the civil society, together with the maturity of
the technologies required for these devices (actuators; sensors;
pneumatic systems; etc.), led to a renewed interest in these technologies. Here, we reveal their most recent advances, mainly in the
context of KATNET activities, and, in particular, their application to
real high-lift systems. This is quite challenging for the aeronautical
industry since, for multi-element airfoils, effective control requires
extensive optimization to apply the system to a complex airfoil.
This involves the joint consideration of the detailed geometry of
the airfoil; Reynolds number; and the parameters of the excitation
such as amplitude, frequency and the location from which the oscillations emanate. The two more important parameters, involved
in the design of AFC devices, are the averaged blowing momentum
coecient, dened as the ratio of the momentum and, in addition,
the free stream and the dimensionless frequency of excitation:

C =

R
mV
1 /2 U S

VR =

Uj
U

F+ =

f e Xe
U

(1)

is the mass ow rate through the duct; U j the average


where m
jet exit velocity; the external density; U the external velocity
and S a reference area. V R is the relative velocity between jet and
free stream; f e the excitation frequency if it is applied ; and
X e the dimensionless distance between the excitation location and
the trailing edge (ap or wing).
Other parameters in play are the jet pitch, the skew angle, and
jet nozzle diameter or the duty cycle (DC), dened as the portion
of the period in which the valve is open.
Different theories about how the AFC affects the ow can be
found in [4]. Most of them describe the interaction between these
jets and the cross ow over the surface, leading to the formation
of a domain which displaces the local streamlines of the cross ow
and, thereby, inducing an apparent or virtual change in the shape
of the surface; an apparent modication of the ow boundary; and
the local stream-wise pressure gradient. Herewith is a short review
of current tendencies in this technologys development.
4.2.1. Blowing method
The blowing method, also known as uidic VG, consists of in
adding energy to the lower boundary layer by blowing air through
slots and energizing the ow near the wall which enables it to
overcome a larger pressure gradient. Jet entrainment had been
shown to enhance the lift generated by airfoils. The used mechanism, the Coanda effect phenomenon, allows the jet to remain
attached even when long curvature effects are presented. A typical
low-speed application is to delay the boundary layer detachment
at high angles of attack. The City University checked this concept
experimentally on a 35 swept wing, RAE5225 aerofoil section, aspect ratio of 4.5 and 0.958 m of span. 18 rectangular air jets of
30 pitch and variable skew were distributed uniformly at a 10%
x/c. The free stream conditions were M = 0.1 and Re = 0.5 millions. In this conguration, the ow was detached at a 12 angle
of attack. The pitch angle was xed to 30 . The eciency of the
VG depended clearly on the swept angle which, nally, was xed
at 90 . The experiments showed the ability to attach the ow
completely at = 12 with C = 0.03 (Fig. 41).
Also, in these experiments, a pulsed VG with pulsing frequency,
equal to the trailing edge shedding frequency, was tested. The

Pulsed AJVG injection was supposed to achieve the same aerodynamic performance gains (same VR and jet geometry) and steady
air jets but at considerably reduced mass ows (C ). However, the
authors gave no additional details supporting this fact. In the same
context, the 2nd EUROPEAN FORUM on FLOW CONTROL (Poitiers,
2006) [94] proposed to study the effects of different uidic actuators on the same NACA0015 airfoil. The competition was followed by different groups in Poitiers; Monash; Florida; Tel Aviv;
and Manchester Universities. The NACA0015 model had a chord of
0.35 m and a span of 2.4 m. The analysis was conducted at a freestream velocity of 40 m/s and a Reynolds number of 0.96 millions.
Table 3 summarizes the mode and means of deployment; jet orientation; position and number of orices.
The following conclusions were obtained:

Angled Steady Jet with diameter of 1 mm (0.27% < C < 0.36%,


2.5 < V R < 3.5)
C L improves by 516% depending upon incidence;
C D reduced 30% to 50%;
Typical time for attachment/separation at 11 is 0.1 s.
Normal Steady Jet with diameter of 1 mm (0.03% < C <
0.14%, 0.9 < V R < 1.8)
C L improves by 35% depending upon incidence;
Tendency to increase C D for incidences above 12 , except at
15 .
Normal Steady Jet with diameter of 0.5 mm (C  0.4%,
V R  8)
C L improves by 38% depending upon incidence;
C D reduced 1522%;
More effective after 8 incidence (no separation before this
incidence).
For illustration, the ZNMF (zero net mass ow) was included,
also, in this comparison. In this case, a Reynolds number of 0.25
millions and free stream velocity of 10 m/s were considered. The
study was performed at an angle of incidence of 13 . The optimal
solution was obtained with C = 0.32%, V R = 3. The actuator was
operated at 1.95 kHz and modulated with a sine wave at 41 Hz.
The obtained results showed better drag reduction characteristics
at low incidences with a lift improvement up to 4%.
Other typical applications of these devices are the reduction of
simplication of high-lift devices, for instance, in the design of a
slotless ap and a slatless prole. Alenia investigated a slotless ap
conguration which removed the standard slot between the wing
and the ap by giving a wingap structural continuity. The slot
was substituted with a small cave where the effect of steady blowing was augmented by positioning a small NACA prole (Fig. 42).
A preliminary analysis, in a baseline prole, showed a performance
improvement in ap lift with almost no penalty in drag (Fig. 43).
The conguration was tested on an Airbus320 at a take-off Mach
number of 0.153. The design considered that there was a need for
a blowing coecient of C = 0.067 with U j = 340 m/s ( V R  6).
This ow rate had to be obtained by an estimated 8% of bleeding from the nacelle ow (approximately 32 kg/s). The estimated
aircraft mass increase due to blowing system was 430 kg with an
estimated mass decrease of 630 kg because of a reduced chord
ap.
In the slatless wing conguration (Fig. 44), the slat was substituted with a blowing device located on the leading edge. The
results were compared with the high-lift devices studied in EUROLIFT I. The experiments were performed on a modied ONERA
AFV wing in the Airbus Filton low speed wind tunnel facility. Four
different positions of the jet, relative to the leading edge, were
considered (x/c = 0.024 up BLE1, 0.01 up BLE2, 0 BLE3, 0.006 low
BLE4). The analysis was performed at M = 0.153 and a velocity jet

A. Abbas et al. / Aerospace Science and Technology 28 (2013) 100132

119

Fig. 41. Eciency of blowing methods to avoid the ow detachment for different values of the blowing momentum coecient. Experiment performed by The City University
on a 35 swept wing, RAE5225 aerofoil section.
Table 3
Range of parameters studied in the 2nd European Forum on Flow Control (Poitiers, 2006).
Steady angled jets (1 mm diameter)
Steady normal jets (1 mm diameter)
Steady normal jets (0.5 mm diameter)
Normal ZNMF jet (1 mm diameter)

Mode of deployment

Means of deployment

Continuous

Pressurized cavity

Amplitude pulsed modulated

Piezo-electric

Jet orientation
30 pitch 60 skew
Normal to surface

of Uj = 340 m/s. A CLmax as high as 3.4 at AoA of 22 was obtained compared with the original 2.5 at 15 .
Within the turbo-machinery eld, one important goal is the reduction of the number of vanes or compressor stages. The design
of a stator with Coanda surface makes it possible to increase the
vane spacing; and, thereby, reducing the number of total vanes.
The idea is to design a curved surface, near the trailing edge, which
promotes the Coanda effect. This effect can be increased further
by blowing. The Institute of Turbomachinery and Fluid Mechanics of Leibniz University performed a study concerning this issue.
The new stator was slightly shorter; had the maximum thickness
shortly downstream; and a trailing edge thicker than the original
one. The new stators internal plenum was designed carefully to
avoid losses (Fig. 45). The designs were carried out by a numerical
optimization making use of the NavierStokes equations. The new

Position (x/c)
0.3
0.3
0.3
0.3

Number of orices
44
51
64
56

conguration could increase the Permissible Aerodynamic Loading,


by 13% at the Design Point, and 0.5% of Compressor Inlet Mass
were sucient to reduce vane count by 20%.
Also in the eld of turbo-machinery, BAE Systems and Dassault
Aviation (in collaboration with LEA from Poitiers, ONERA, Snecma)
evaluated the potential of uidic thrust vectoring to determine the
eciency of a throat skewing concept on a generic high aspect ratio nozzle. It was based on a modication of the sonic line through
the generation of a separated ow region on one of the lateral
walls of the divergent part of the nozzle (Fig. 46).
The ow separation control was achieved through continuous
blowing of high pressure bleed air whose mass ow rate determined the shape of the separated region. Different parameters
were studied: The length and slope angle of the divergent part of
the nozzle; the location; angle and mass ow rate of the blowing;

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A. Abbas et al. / Aerospace Science and Technology 28 (2013) 100132

Fig. 42. Slotless ap conguration.

Fig. 43. CL and CD as a function of C for the slotless ap conguration.

Fig. 44. Blown leading edge concept.

A. Abbas et al. / Aerospace Science and Technology 28 (2013) 100132

121

Fig. 47. Oil ow picture leading edge actuation (lower side) from [106].

Fig. 45. Internal design of the Coanda stator to avoid loss in the air discharge phase.

Fig. 46. Fluidic thrust vectoring concept.

a combination of blowing at the throat; and, at the end of the


divergent part, inuenced the nozzle exit aspect ratio on uidic
thrust vectoring eciency. Although in a preliminary stage of investigation the conclusion were quite satisfactory, in the sense that
it was possible to obtain a good thrust vectoring eciency with a
monotonic increase of thrust vector angle, this was at the cost of
obtaining a reduction in the mass ow rate and thrust. The decrease of uidic throat section, due to the blowing, was limited
by the engine surge margin. The RANS prediction of aerodynamic
eciency (thrust vector angle; discharge coecient; Gross thrust
coecient) was in general agreement with experimental measurements done by ONERA.
4.2.2. Vortex generator
The eciency of steady blowing can be improved by using a
dynamic (pulsed/periodic) jet. The pulsing introduces periodic vortical structures, which increase the turbulent mixing between the
low momentum uid, close to the surface, and the outer parts of
the boundary layer. This allows the mean (net) mass ux to be reduced because the momentum is taken from the outer ow and
not from the actuator jet itself which only helps the transfer. This

momentum oriented effect makes possible, also, activation by different sources such as air compressor; thermal (spark jets); and
electromagnetic (plasma actuator) or mechanical (synthetic jets).
From the point of view of applications, in a similar way to continuous blowing VG, they aim to enhance the stall characteristic
of proles or high-lift devices, or even to eliminate the necessity
of these devices (slatless congurations). The main reason of using
pulsed VG is that some previous studies about detached ows [4,
38,72] showed that steady blowing could require more momentum
input for reattachment and separation prevention than an equivalent periodic excitation. Although, in general, these technologies
are well understood, there is a need for further research before
being deployed in an aircraft, and, in particular, there is a need to
understand the role of the different parameters involved in their
eciency. Some of the most remarkable studies are given below.
The German Flow Control Network, conducted by the DLR
Braunschweig, Technical University of Berlin, Braunschweig and
Stuttgart, carried out different experiments on the control of the
separation in the wing and the ap of a DLR F15-model [106].
The DLR-F15 is a modular wind tunnel model for two-dimensional
testing of different high-lift congurations. The model has a chord
length of 600 mm and the span varies from 2400 mm to 2800 mm,
depending on the test cross section of the wind tunnel. For the
two-element conguration, the ap deection angle can be adjusted within the range 30 49 . The experiments were conducted
at Mach = 0.10.2 and Re = 1.42.8 millions in the DNW NWB
wind tunnel of Braunschweigs facilities. In order to avoid stall by
laminar separation bubble burst, the transition was triggered at the
leading edge.
For the main wing, the actuators were located at the lower and
upper leading edges and at the 25% of the upper wing (Fig. 47).
Pressurized air at a maximum delivery rate of 10 m3 /min and
12 bar was supplied by tubes into the model air ducts up to a fast
switching solenoid valve. This valve could operate at a maximum
frequency of 300 Hz. Fig. 48-left shows the lift coecient over the
angle of attack without actuation and with an actuation at a pressure of 5 bar; frequency 100 Hz; and a duty cycle of DC = 85%. In
this case, the ap deection was set to 45 . The major effect was
seen to be a delay of separation towards higher angles of attack
by approximately 5 . In the linear range, the actuation reduced
slightly the lift coecient.
In the case of the ap, Fig. 48-right shows the lift curves for a
ap deection angle of 49 without and with active ow control
on the ap shoulder at 20% of the ap chord. For the unexcited
case, a large separation area occurred starting at about 35% ap
chord (not shown here), and was present for the whole range of
angles of attack. Exciting the ow with a frequency of 225 Hz; a
duty cycle of 50%; and a duct pressure of 8 bar led to a reattachment of the ow on the ap, which resulted in an enhancement
of the lift coecient of up to 10% in the linear region of the presented lift polar. The corresponding momentum coecient was, on
average, about C = 0.25%.

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A. Abbas et al. / Aerospace Science and Technology 28 (2013) 100132

Fig. 48. Control of separation by pulse actuation. Left-main wing, right-ap from [106].

Fig. 49. Schematic drawing of the airfoil PS03-8.27 with the actuation setup and
CAD close up of the Nose. The airfoil was equipped with alternately oriented slots
5 0.2 mm2 , skew angle 45 from [89].

In the same way, Scholz et al. [89] investigated a PS03-8.27 airfoil equipped with a total of 80 individual slots with a relative
distance between them of  y /c = 0.0375 and a skew angle of
45 (Fig. 49). The optimal orientation; distance; and setup for the
span-wise array were optimized carefully [48]. Free stream velocity
of 50 m/s and a Reynolds number of 1.3 millions were considered
in this study. The laminar separation bubble, typical at this low Re,
was avoided by using a proper transition tripping at x/c = 0.3%.
Two different positions for the actuator were studied; one at
the suction side of the prole and the second at the pressure side.
For the suction side (Fig. 50-left), the actuation inuenced the separation in a positive manner but it was unable to prevent it. The
optimum conguration was found at a duty cycle (dened in the
gures as ) of 25% and F +  1, with an improvement in the
maximum normal force of 0.12 and maximum AoA of 19 , around
5 higher than the clean conguration. However, clearly observed
in the picture, an area of retarded ow appeared behind the slots,
which embedded into a boundary layer provoked a small separation area and hence smaller normal forces before stall than in the
clean conguration. After the stall, the actuators could introduce,
now, some positive periodicity improving the global performances
at high AoA. When the actuators were located in the pressure side

(Fig. 50-right), the setup resulted in a successful vortex generator jet for separation control; the stall was delayed and an almost
continuous lift curve resulted. The maximum AoA was increased
by 2.5 and the maximum normal force by 0.15. As a drawback,
the amplitude was required to delay separation which was an order of magnitude larger than the amplitude required to control
the separated ow with the suction-side setup. As a nal remark,
it was observed that the maximum normal force and the maximum AoA for the clean congurations differed slightly for the two
setups (pressure/suction side). This was explained in [89] as the
effect on the unsealed slots in the different positions.
In the same context, Haucke et al. [43] investigated the effect
of the position and jet angle of the pulsed VG and their effectiveness to improve the performance of a Fowler ap (Fig. 51). Two
different setups were studied: the VG located at the 10% of the
ap chord, with blowing angle normal to the ap surface; and at
the 20% of the chord with jet angle of 30 . As in other experiments, the Reynolds number was millions, and the boundary layer
was force to turbulence by a rough strip located on the leading
edge. Other studied parameters were: ap gap and ap overlap;
angle of attack; ap deection angle; and excitation parameters
such as frequency; duty cycle; and supplied air pressure (equivalent to blowing momentum coecient).
The main conclusions are shown in Fig. 52. As noted already by
other authors, very small dependence of the lift with the frequency
was observed. On the contrary, C affected greatly the actuations
performance; higher values of C produced higher values of lift
with almost no penalty in terms of drag. As a nal conclusion, ow
excitation, with a wall jet perpendicular to the aps upper surface,
resulted in lift enhancements of up to 8%. Pulsed blowing, at a position further downstream closer to the time averaged separation
line with an inclined periodic wall jet, was more effective than
normal blowing. The improvements in lift coecients depended
on each conguration and reached values of up to a maximum of
50%.
The extension to more realistic 3D test cases was performed,
also, by Petz et al. [76]. The mentioned model consisted of the
fuselage and a three-element wing containing the slat; main wing;

A. Abbas et al. / Aerospace Science and Technology 28 (2013) 100132

123

Fig. 50. Effect of duty cycle and C on performance of airfoil PS03-8.27. Left, actuator located at the suction side with for xed F + = 0.6. Right, actuator located at the
pressure side with F + = 1.44. From [89].

Fig. 51. Principal actuator system tested in the slatless conguration of [43].

Fig. 52. Effect of pulse frequency and blowing momentum coecient in slatless conguration studied by [43].

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A. Abbas et al. / Aerospace Science and Technology 28 (2013) 100132

Fig. 53. 3D high-lift conguration studied in [76].

and ap. There was a sweep angle of 30 and a nite wing span
(Fig. 53). The investigations showed a substantial improvement in
lift and drag resulting in a lift-to-drag ratio enhancement of about
15% in the 3D case, compared with 20% to 25% in the equivalent
2D-case. Apart from these promising results, the 3D test case was
more complicated than appeared at a rst glance. In the 3D case,
the separation process was different due to sweep effects and nite
wing span. In the separation, longitudinal vortices were generated
in addition to stream-wise vortices. The rst test mimicking the 2D
parameters resulted in almost a 20% degradation of lift and drag
for the 3D case (Fig. 54-left). A second experiment was carried out
by moving the excitation slot downstream by only a fraction of the
ap chord and tilted in the direction of the ow. The results in
Fig. 54-right show a strong sensitivity of the ow with the parameter involved in the active ow. This is something which must be
studied further.
Kim [51] performed a thorough numerical study of different
slatless congurations was performed by Kim in a NACA23012
with 20% of ap. The author considered four different congurations: (a) a synthetic jet at 12% of chord; (b) at 81% of chord,
only in the deected ap; (c) a combination of two SJ with droop
nose device; and (d) deected ap and an array or SJ at two dif-

ferent locations of 12% and 30% of the chord. All of them had an
inclined angle of 23 with respect to the local tangential airfoil
surface (Fig. 55).
Simulations were carried out using the following conditions:
free-stream velocity of 35.7 m/s; and a chord Reynolds number
of 2.19 millions. Three different jet velocities (13 times the external velocity) and three different frequencies F + = 1, 2 and 5 were
considered. The characteristic length, used in the non-dimensional
frequency, was the distance between the trailing edge and the jet
slot. A suction/blowing planar boundary condition was adopted in
this work to model a synthetic jet actuator. The base conguration
(a) showed a detached ow starting at the trailing edge at around
18 . At 22 the ow was detached completely, a large stall region
dominated the suction wing side.
As expected, for the controlled case, the enhancement of lift
and drag was proportional to the amplitude of the synthetic jet
velocity (C ). At lower angles of attack, higher momentums were
necessary to overcome the stall at the trailing edge. At higher angles of attack (22 ) the three tested jet velocities produced the
desired effect and the three tested frequencies were irrelevant in
all cases. At an angle of attack of 22 , the maximum lift coecient
was enhanced about 7.3%. In this case, the separation point was
very near the synthetic jet slot.
The conditions for the maximum lift enhancement can be summarized as follows: the approximate non-dimensional frequency
was 1; the location of the synthetic jet slot was equal to the baseline separation point; and the jet velocity was large enough to perturb the surrounding separated ow. For the case of the plain ap
separation (b), similar effects were observed and the synthetic jet
performed well at higher velocities and as long as it was located
close to the detached point. When the wing ow was detached
completely (above 16 ) the ap was immersed completely into the
detached region and the SJ lost their effectiveness.
Although no signicant differences in performance between the
frequencies were observed, the ow features were completely different. The low frequency jet (F +  1) produced a periodic shedding of small vortices which moved along the suction surface and
penetrated into the large leading edge separation vortex. As a
result, the size of the leading edge separation vortex decreased
substantially. For high frequencies, the small vortex did not grow
enough to penetrate into the large separation vortex because the
period of synthetic jet motion was too short. Instead, the ow near
the synthetic jet slot was attached rmly and, as a result, a more
stable ow structure was developed on the suction surface (Fig. 56,
also, these patterns were observed experimentally in [37]).

Fig. 54. Left, preliminary results in 3D conguration. Right, after adjustment of the position of the actuator from [76].

A. Abbas et al. / Aerospace Science and Technology 28 (2013) 100132

125

Fig. 55. Layout of NACA23012 with different congurations of synthetic jets


from [51].

Fig. 57. Lift coecient for different congurations (ff: fowler ap, pf: plain ap, led:
leading edge droop) from [51].

Fig. 56. Different ow patterns depending of the SJ frequency. Left F +  1, Right


F +  10 from [51].

The question about which was the best actuation frequency remained open. When the actuation frequency F + was O(1) the
characteristic (shedding) frequency of the airfoil the natural receptivity of the separating shear layer to this frequency resulted in
a Coanda-like tilting of the shear layer towards the surface of the
airfoil and, therefore, in partial restoration of the lift. The forcing
modulated the evolution of vortical structures within the separated
shear layer and promoted the formation of concentrated lifting
vortices which interacted with trailing-edge vortices and, thereby,
altered the global stalled ow. In a certain range of post-stall angles of attack and actuation frequencies, the ow became periodic
and was accompanied by a signicant lift enhancement. Although
this was the most extended application, it could lead to time periodic vortex shedding from the top surface of the airfoil which
could give up to 20% oscillations in the lift coecient. In contrast, the suppression of separation at higher actuation frequencies
[i.e., F + = O(10)] was marked by the absence of organized vortical structures along the ow surface [2,4]. The mechanism which
led to the suppression of separation was unassociated with the
stability of the separated shear layer and resulted in more steady
structures. Also, it was investigated that pulse modulated with
high frequencies could achieve better performances at lower momentums [3].
Finally, the eciency of a leading edge droop, deected at 20 ,
was studied in conguration (c). The plain ap was deected at
30 , and the synthetic jet velocity was triple the free-stream velocity. An interesting comparison is summarized in Fig. 57. The
maximum lift of the airfoil with a 30 , deected ap was almost 33.4% higher than that of the airfoil without ap deection
(baseline); however, the stall angle was about 2 , lower. For the

plain ap actuated (conguration (b)) the maximum lift was 52.9%


higher. In the case of the airfoil with a 20 leading edge droop, 30
deected ap, and two synthetic jets (0.12c, 0.81c), the maximum
lift was 65.8% higher than that of baseline. Furthermore, the stall
angle was about 2 larger than that of baseline. Consequently, the
combination of the synthetic jet with the simple high lift device
produced almost the same maximum lift enhancement as a conventional fowler ap system (although the slope of the lift curve
was small).
Also, placing different SJ in an array schedule can be benecial.
This option, as shown by [51] in conguration (d), demonstrates
that, at least from the aeronautical point of view, the combination
of weaker SJ in different locations can be more benecial than only
a stronger one. Further analysis of the complexity of the systems is
not described here. In any case a deep study of the space distribution to obtain the maximum performance has not been done. The
same idea was shown by [93] from Boeing company in a simple
hinge ap, a conventional high lift conguration or more advance
high-lift sections (Fig. 58). In the three cases, there is proof that an
adequate distribution of the SJ along the slat, ap and wing, can
enhance greatly the lift with smaller devices and lower jet velocities.
In AVERT, there was performed a comprehensive study of different active ow control actuators. A 2D high-lift wing of 0.5 m
chord length and 1.5 m wing span with a GARTEUR AG08 crosssection [69] was considered as reference. Flap Gap Oscillatory
Blowing, Fluidic VGs and Synthetic Jets Actuators were considered on the ap, whereas for non-standard high-lift systems, Mechanical VGs, Continuous Slots/Jets, Pulsed Slots/Jets and Synthetic
Jets Actuators were considered on a Droop Nose Device conguration (DND) (Fig. 59). In the AEROMEMS project, wind tunnel
demonstrations were performed by Manchester University and the
Laboratoire de Physique et Metrologie des Oscillateurs to test the
eciency of some pneumatic VGs on a ap (Fig. 60).
As an example, a DND of droop deection and ap deection
angles with 35 and 32.4 respectively were studied. The model
was tested at 70 m/s and Re = 1 million. Numerical studies were
performed by Dassault and tested experimentally in ONERA L1
wind tunnel. The reference wing conguration is a droop nose
conguration, with a standard ap. The CFD dened the best
locations and optimum pneumatic VG parameters (jet exit size,
jet velocity amplitude and direction, spacing). Continuous blowing showed effectiveness at 8% of the chord and C = 2.55.1%

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A. Abbas et al. / Aerospace Science and Technology 28 (2013) 100132

Fig. 58. Left, lift augmentation due to distributed ow control simple hinge ap. Central, effect of AFC application on each element of the conventional high-lift wing section
(representative takeoff conguration, = 24). Right, AFC for advanced wing section (landing conguration, = 50). From [93].

Fig. 59. Low speed ow control devices considered in the European project AVERT.

Fig. 60. Micro uidic actuators (MEMS technology from LPMO) on AFV ap in ONERA F1 wind tunnel (AEROMEMS project).

to eliminate completely the stall on a slatless DND conguration


at an AoA of 25 (Fig. 61-left). For this conguration, the excitation with pulse blowing (70 Hz) and the same momentum did not
perform well (Fig. 61-right). This was controversial with other previously mentioned authors, who showed better performance for
pulse blowing and lower momentum injections.
Another interesting application was performed by Boeing for a
commercial aircraft conguration, the US project ADVINT (Adaptive Flow Control Vehicle Integrated Technologies for Breakthrough
Aerodynamic Performance), in collaboration with Professor Wygnanskis team which aimed at improving high lift wings for
the Boeings ATT (Advanced Theater Transport Aircraft), by using
pulsed jet actuators to be developed and tested in ight conditions (Kilbens and Bower [50]).

NASA and Boeing applied the same kind of control for high lift
wings (with and without gaps between the different wing components). Since 1999, studies of wings with and without gaps
were undertaken and showed that the loss of performance, due
to gap suppression between main body and ap, could be reduced
greatly thanks to pulsed jets actuators (Sellers et al. [92]). Similarly Seiferts work (Pack et al. [73]) demonstrated the success of a
ow control on a high lift aerofoil with no gap deected slat and
ap. Several kinds of jets and synthetic slots allowed signicantly
increased performance of such aerofoils by suppressing boundary
layer separation.
To our knowledge, no ight demonstration has been performed
in the USA for representative aircraft (lack of high authority synthetic jet actuator). Nevertheless, in the USA, a ight demonstra-

A. Abbas et al. / Aerospace Science and Technology 28 (2013) 100132

127

Fig. 61. Droop nose device with AFC tested by ONERA in the European project AVERT. Droop nose conguration, with a standard ap of a GARTEUR high-lift landing
conguration is considered as reference. Left continuous blowing. Right pulse blowing.

Fig. 62. XV-15 in stationary ight.

tion was performed in low free-stream velocity where available


synthetic jets (low authority) could be used, on tilt rotor XV-15
aircraft (see Fig. 62). The ow control was set up by Professor
Wygnanskis team [109].
The aim was to control the ow on the main wing body during the vertical take-off where a massive separation occurs on the
leading edge and on the 80 deected ap. The synthetic jet actuator was located near the hinge line of the ap.
4.3. Other applications
For conventional slats and aps, the need to reduce source
noise terms for a given level of performance is also attractive. Two
technologies were identied: the application of acoustic treatments
to slat and ap coves and active noise reduction by the suppression of unsteady ows. The rst approach builds on the knowledge
gained through the use of acoustic liners to suppress the propagation (and potential amplication) of noise through the high lift
device. The challenge is to understand the characteristics of the
noise source terms and identify the specication of the liners. For
the active control system, pressure uctuations which contribute
to noise are detected and suppressed by a sensor actuator array.
This is more complex than the acoustic liner arrangement but may
be the only means of suppressing some noise sources. The chal-

lenge is to identify suitable systems and control laws if such an


approach is to be realized.
Flow control strategy can be considered, also, for other aerodynamic applications. The application of trailing edge separation control, through mass-less jet actuators to enhance aileron effectiveness, may result in smaller sized devices with a potential weight
saving to the overall structure. This is taken to the extreme in the
case of wing surface separation control aircraft maneuver where
the conventional aileron is removed completely with load control
coming through wing separation control rather than a moveable
device. The underlying technology is the same boundary layer separation and attachment control and the extent to which these can
be deployed if at all will be dependent upon the conguration
of interest. The development of robust and durable devices, which
can promote both separation and re-attachment minimizing excrescence drag, is worthy of investigation.
Moving to the dynamic regime and the control of unsteady
loads, active utter control, by control surface actuation, may be
considered to extend the utter (or buffet) boundary of a wing
without recourse to increasing structural strength and weight. Also,
the onset of buffet can be postponed by using pneumatic VGs upstream of the shock position. The aerodynamic phenomena are
well known and the main challenge is in the design of suitable
control laws. However, because such a system is active, a key challenge will be to certify such a system due to the associated safety
issues. Pylon junction shock control, by porous cavity, may be a
useful means of alleviating the adverse effect of wing lower surface pylon ow separations at rapid descent as an alternative to
other shapes or structural treatments. Again, from an aerodynamic
perspective, the understanding is clear and most of the remaining
activity is focused on demonstration.
5. System and certication issues
So far, the description of different ow control technologies has
been addressed. However, it is necessary to discuss some system
and certication issues associated with the in service use of this
kind of device. Summary descriptions of the problems involved are
(additional details in Liddle and Crowther [62]):

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A. Abbas et al. / Aerospace Science and Technology 28 (2013) 100132

Velocity ratio for VG control (as found by CFD and to be con-

Fig. 63. Slotless ap conguration.

5.1. Safety
Flow control technologies should operate when they are commanded to do so. They should not operate when not commanded
to do so. They must not be susceptible to single point failures and,
in any case, failures must be preceded by degradation. It would become necessary for the aircrafts systems to be able to test that the
AFC devices are working properly. This requires that many systems
must be doubled and checked often on the ground.
5.2. Performance and ight handling characteristics
Acceptable vehicle performance and handling margins should
be maintained under all likely ight conditions and ow control
system operational states. A system control must be implemented
which acts automatically. This involves a reliable detection of the
proximity of stall and a closed loop system.
5.3. Environment
A ow control system should not generate unacceptable contributions to overall aircraft noise and emissions. Often, the tested
ow control devices introduced additional noise sources during
their operation. SJA and slot type devices, tested in laboratory conditions, operated at audible frequencies. In order to avoid these
problems, it is possible that AFC devices may have to operate in an
ultrasonic range. This is something still under research. From practical implementation of these systems the following issues must
addressed. Generally, these systems are deployed at low altitudes
and when the aircraft is on the ground. Therefore, the ow control
devices must be resistant to the effects of contamination including
ice, water and insects. It is recalled that one of the main reasons
why riblets for turbulent drag reduction were not pursued, following ight trials in the 90 s, was the unacceptably high cost of
cleaning. For actuator concepts which involved the use of an orice, Hybrid Laminar Flow Control orices tend to be of the order
of 0.05 mm and can be cleaned by reversing the suction system by
blowing through compressed air. However, AFC actuators orices
are an order of magnitude larger, around 1 mm. This relative large
size increases the possibility of allowing contaminants to enter the
systems. Provision of a suitable orice closure system may be essential. One possibility is to use Electro Active Polymer Technology
(EAP). Typically, EAP actuators are silicone elastomer sheets incorporating compliant electrodes. Activation of the electrodes causes
a compressive force to be placed on the sheet, which is forced to
displace out of the plane (Fig. 63).
5.4. Industrial issues
Direct Fluidic actuators are the simplest to implement. However, these are open issues with the weight; volume of piping
required; and the poor energy eciency associated with engine
bleed.
Some conclusions, obtained from the AVERT project, were as
follows:

rmed by AVERT experiments).


The leading edge control needs a V R around 5. If control by
synthetic slot VR around 2 is needed (Vj around 250 m/s).
For a transonic ow control, a micro-jet velocity of the order
of Mach 2 seems to be needed.
For a real aircraft conguration the mass ow for a nonZNMF control cannot be greater than 1% of the total engine
mass ow rate. For a Falcon aircraft, the targeted mass ow
rate cannot be reached without duty cycle and optimization.
ZNMF VG and slots are a must but they have to reach the
expected performances (in particular higher jet velocity than
today).
Manufacturing a micro actuator with a valve (mandatory
for continuous jets working in on and off modes and, also,
mandatory for pulsating blowing jets) must be able to sustain high level pressure necessary for in ight demonstration (higher free-stream velocity than used within present
wind tunnel demonstration tests). The design and manufacturing of a synthetic pulsed jet with high authority (with
required high jet velocity  250 m/s) to meet the requirement of an in-ight type demonstration, seems still to be
unsolved.
Mechanical devices and air control have to t in a very restricted zone. Control will not be feasible everywhere. For instance, in terms of internal layout and mass ow bleeding,
anti-icing will have to coexist with air control, especially for
landing where the need is important and the engine is idle.
For laminarity reasons, the control must be:
Leading edge (low speed): As much backward as possible.
Small holes compared with BL parameters and compatible
with a hybrid laminarity suction device.
Main body (high speed): Avoid fuel tank zone (rst 10% of
airfoil) and as much backward as possible to prevent early
transition.
When not operating, actuators holes or slot exit should be
closed to prevent dust or insect ingestion. Electro-mechanical
actuators must operate in a hostile environment (low temperature, humid air, rain, . . .).
Pneumatic devices are much more convenient than mechanical ones (performances, compatibility with low drag buffeting
control, laminarity). On stiff congurations (knee), the control
by slot seems work better than VG (preliminary CFD assessment, TBC by experiments). However, electro-mechanical uidic actuators (SJ) are more complex than Direct Fluidic actuators (VG), but electrical operation is consistent with the move
towards the more electrical aircraft and bleed-less propulsion
system.

6. Implications to aerodynamic tools


Two Aerodynamic Tools are considered CFD and the Wind Tunnel.
6.1. Computational uid dynamics
Finally, to help meet the mentioned challenges, via the reduction of lead time and the provision of robust solutions with
improved quality, it is essential to be able to ight-test, in a computer environment, a virtual aircraft with all its multi-disciplinary
interactions and to compile all of the data required for development and certication with guaranteed accuracy in a reduced time
frame. Over the next decade, numerical simulation is foreseen to
provide a tremendous increase in eciency and simulation quality.
Along with increasing capability to model and compute all major
multi-disciplinary aspects of an aircraft, it will become possible to

A. Abbas et al. / Aerospace Science and Technology 28 (2013) 100132

y and investigate on the computer the complete aircraft. Progress


in high performance computing (HPC) will contribute essentially
to achieving this goal. Considerable changes of development processes will lead to a signicant reduction in development times
whilst including more and more disciplines from the early phases
of design in order to nd an overall optimum aircraft design.
All aspects of simulation (physics; mathematics; algorithms;
hardware; soft-ware, computer science; information technology;
man-machine interface; overall system; data handling; and applications, etc.) are supposed to deliver essential contributions and
provide their input and support to a superior cooperative effort.
Considerable advances have been made in the prediction of
drag for the full aircraft conguration. To enable better multidisciplinary working, an improved predictive capability to determine
aerodynamic loads for high maneuver conditions (typically +2.5 G
and 1.5 G) and high Mach numbers (up to 0.95) is required. These
include the representation of control surfaces.
The ability to model correctly jet effects becomes more important with the introduction of closer coupled engines and nozzle
acoustic treatments. Further work is required to validate jet models.
For high lift device design, where the ability to assess a number of alternative design options is essential before committing to
wind tunnel testing, the role of CFD is now expanding rapidly and
evidence from the EUROLIFT and EUROLIFT2 projects show that
it is possible to use the current CFD technology good levels of
prediction in maximum lift and lift to drag ratio are possible. Continued effort is required as the challenge of meeting noise targets
increases.
In order to meet the low speed performance targets, an understanding of the strength of the noise source terms around landing
gear and high lift devices will become essential in supporting solution down selection ahead of test. This requires the use of higher
order CFD methods than those used for todays performance assessments.
Speed of use will be critical both in terms of mesh generation and ow prediction. Given the maturity of present methods, it
would seem appropriate to consolidate around a common toolset
to pool together the expertise in Europe.
The introduction of ow control technologies places new requirements on the modeling capabilities of CFD. A pragmatic approach is needed regarding the level of detail required to model
the device and the level of investment directed to realizing this.
The benet of a number of ow control solutions remains unclear
and some demonstration of the benet should be given before a
large-scale activity is undertaken.
The introduction of ow control technologies places new requirements on the CFDs modeling capabilities. A pragmatic approach is needed regarding the level of detail required to model
the device and the level of investment directed to realizing this.
The benet of a number of ow control solutions remains unclear
and some demonstration of the benet should be given before a
large-scale activity is undertaken.
On top, intelligent means will have to be developed which
could allow a resuction in the number of required computations.
So-called surrogate or reduced order models, which were adapted
to specics of aerodynamic ow simulation, could help essentially
in accelerating comprehensive use of numerical simulation in aircraft design and optimization.
To nish up, it is important to highlight the increasing importance of simulation capabilities in the optimization loop for these
new congurations. The number of parameters, involved in the design of this technology, is so high that the use of optimization
algorithms is mandatory. Adjoint/inverse optimization methods are
currently under development and their applications focus not only
on classical aerodynamic design but, also, start to cover multidisci-

129

plinary applications; structure interactions; and stability methods


for laminar design, etc. The new ow control devices and their
proper calibration raise a new challenge to the numerical CFD
methods. Appropriate and complete numerical simulation of this
actuators is still not well understood; however, a high priority is
to model their effects in the numerical models to be included in
the optimization design loop.
6.2. Wind tunnel testing
For the foreseeable future the wind tunnel will remain the nal arbitrator in the validation of aircraft design solutions ahead
of rst ight. Rapid machining techniques have enabled, also, the
wind tunnel to remain a key tool in supporting the development
of design solutions in a timely manner. The development of such
methods for metal wind tunnel components can give further benet since the wind tunnel plays an important role in validating our
design solutions as we step out of the box in current design solutions to those that deliver the 2020 goals.
Flight scale Reynolds number testing will play an important role
in determining the ight performance of a future aircraft conguration. A better understanding of model support systems is required and the development of low interference stings would simplify the performance prediction process. For half model testing,
a greater understanding is needed of the impact of the Reynolds
number on half model mounting and test techniques. The FLIRET
project is the main European collaborative effort aimed at developing new test techniques.
Flight scale wind tunnel testing will help to support the validation of a number of technologies for improved aircraft performance
without recourse to ight tests. This will be particularly important
for those technologies which are highly conguration dependent
e.g. natural laminar ow on a Proactive Green aircraft.
In the area of ow control, the wind tunnel will play an important role in understanding the ow physics of the devices under
consideration. However, a challenge remains as to how such devices can be represented correctly on a wind tunnel model scale.
7. Conclusions
This review gives an overview of key aerodynamic technologies, identied by the KATNet network, and how they are aligned
against the European aerospace 2020 vision goals. Perhaps, it is
surprising that, potentially, the biggest impact aerodynamics can
make is in the area of environment since this affects directly
product performance at high and low speed. It is clear that improvements to future aircraft, aligned to the 2020 vision goals,
can be made through better multi-disciplinary working supported,
within the aerodynamic discipline, by the accurate and timely prediction of drag; noise; and loads. Opportunities may be offered,
also, through the adoption of novel congurations. Novel congurations are outside the scope of this study. However, it is important that the appropriate level of effort is directed at exploring
novel concepts to understand what they can offer in term of the
2020 vision. Also, a number of technologies are identied which,
now, have reached a signicant level of maturity. They have been
ight tested with the AWIATOR and SILENCE projects. Potentially,
these technologies give us a further step toward the 2020 vision
goals. However, it is clear that the 2020 vision goals will not be
achieved through the adoption of these technologies coupled with
the evolution of todays standard through better optimization at a
multidisciplinary level. Signicant improvements in drag and noise
can be made through the adoption of a Proactive Green conguration. This is optimized for minimum fuel burn and noise and
has a relatively low cruise Mach number enabling a reduced wing
sweep and increased span and, therefore, low induced drag. This

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A. Abbas et al. / Aerospace Science and Technology 28 (2013) 100132

has a signicant benet on high and low speed performance. The


reduced sweep allows for the exploitation of Natural Laminar Flow.
However the viability of such a solution is dependent on the acceptability of a lower cruise Mach number. A number of relatively
immature technologies have been identied which can give a further step in the direction of the 2020 vision goals and, if successful,
could see the goals being realized. These technologies fall mostly
into the area of ow control of which 3 categories can be dened.

Separation control-offers a reduction in aircraft weight for the


same level of performance. It has the potential in terms of improving high lift and control device effectiveness. SBVGs are
well known; however, the use of mass-less jets may enable a
more effective means of separation control to be realized.
Delay in laminar to turbulent transition offers signicant drag
reductions but at the cost of increased complexity. The mass
transpiration solution is well understood; however, the application of new technologies such as MEMs and distributed
roughness could yield greater benets and are worthy of investigation.
Reduction in turbulent skin friction offers a signicant level
of drag reduction through the exploitation of micro and
nano scale technologies to control turbulent structures in the
boundary layer. Fundamental ow physics research is required
to understand the mechanisms to achieving a signicant drag
reduction.
It is apparent that a diverse research plan is needed if the
2020 vision goals are to be achieved. Effort is needed not only in
the area of aircraft conguration and component optimization but,
also, in fundamental research into ow physics of drag generation
and innovative mechanisms to control them.
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