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Turbulent Drag Reduction


Development of New Methods of Laminar Flow Control and Turbulent Drag Reduction.

Tech Area / Field

  • SAT-AER/Aeronautics/Space, Aircraft and Surface Transportation

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Tocheny L V

Leading Institute
Central Aerodynamic Institute, Russia, Moscow reg., Zhukovsky


  • ONERA, France, Clamart\nNational Aerospace Laboratory NLR, The Netherlands, Amsterdam\nAIRBUS Industrie, France, Blagnac

Project summary

The purpose of the project is to conduct theoretical and experimental investigations, leading to friction drag reduction of civil subsonic and prospective supersonic aircraft. This project will also lead to turbulent drag reduction of internal flows within petroleum and gas pipelines.

Investigations are concentrated on new laminar flow control techniques for straight and swept wings. Flow control mechanisms under investigation include a) vibratory and acoustic disturbances, b) energy supply into the boundary layer, c) introduction of solid and liquid particles into the flow, d) creation of periodic, 3-dimensional flow disturbances and e) local boundary layer suction.

For turbulent drag reduction the focus of study is a) the influence of energy supply into the turbulent boundary layer, b) new LEBU-type-units in pipelines and external turbulent boundary layer, c) the influence of riblets on aft body drag.

As a result of this project, greater understanding of new mechanisms which influence laminar-turbulent transition and full turbulent boundary layer will be achieved. The limits of applicability and efficiency of proposed methods will also be determined. From these findings practical recommendations will be made with. the aim of reducing civil aviation fuel consumption. "This problem has great commercial meaning. For example, a 1 per cent drag reduction for a long-range A340-type aircraft provides annual fuel savings of 320,000 kg. It should be noted that an European airline which has some 110 aircraft consumes about 2,000,000,000 kg of fuel per year. Fuel savings of a large airline could reach $150 million per year.

Similar efficiency estimations can be formulated for reduction of energy consumption in petroleum and gas pipelines.

Benefits to reducing civil aviation fuel consumption include ecological as well as economic payoffs, as more efficient aircraft decrease their harmful influence on the environment, particularly, on the Earth's ozone layer.

The computer codes developed under project execution will assist in the practical adoption of the drag reduction methods proposed.

Completion of the project depends Upon extensive theoretical and numerical investigations and the development of numerical codes and software packages to solve the formulated problems. From the results of these studies, new proposed drag reduction methods will be obtained and performance optimization methods will be determined. Finally, experimental verification of the applicability and effectiveness will be conducted.

The experimental investigations mentioned above do not require significant adaptation or modification of TsAGI's aerodynamic setups or wind tunnels. Furthermore, preliminary studies of related topics conducted at TsAGI, confirm that the intended direction of this project is promising.


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