Project Title: Smart Skin for Turbulent Drag Reduction
Drag reduction for aerial vehicles has a range of positive ramifications:
reduced fuel consumption with the associated economic and environmental
consequences, larger flight range and endurance and higher achievable
flight speeds. The ongoing work capitalizes on recent advances
in active turbulent drag reduction and active material based actuation
to develop a smart skin for turbulent drag reduction
in realistic flight conditions.
The skin operation principle is based on computational evidence
that spanwise traveling waves of the right amplitude, wavelength
and frequency can result in significant turbulent drag reduction.
Such traveling waves can be induced in the smart skin via active-material
actuation. The flow control technique pursued is micro
in the sense that only micro-scale wave amplitudes (order of 30
m) and energy inputs are sufficient to produce significant benefits.
To achieve a traveling wave profile on a skin, two actuation
principles have been developed and analyzed and the feasibility
of different skin designs based on these two actuation principles
have been studied.
The current research effort is focused on the experimental validation
of the proposed drag reduction technique. For this purpose, a
mechanically actuated prototype skin, capable of generating a
traveling wave has been designed and manufactured, using a rapid
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