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Leading Edge Box Design for Swept Flow Control Wing

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Active aerodynamics for aeroplane wings

Researchers have developed an active flow-control system to enable the development of innovative high-lift systems for aircraft. The new technologies will play an important role in making future air transport more efficient.

Industrial Technologies

The main aim of the EU-funded LEBOX project was to demonstrate the effectiveness of flow separation control at the leading edge of a swept aerofoil. Aerofoil is the shape of the wing or blade. Dynamic vortex generator jets (VGJs) can suppress turbulent leading-edge flow separation at high angles of attack to increase lift to the maximum extent possible. An important step beyond the state-of-the-art was the creation of actuator geometries for twisted boundary layers to positively influence flow control. Project members used a technologically advanced Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes (RANs) solver for modelling and linked this to wind tunnel testing to optimise the design and placement of VGJs on the aerofoil. The numerical solutions pioneered a new concept of 2.5D simulation. This highlighted the sensitivity of key parameters such as skew and pitch angles, spacing and size relative to the boundary layer. The best set up was found to be a so-called swept constant wing chord. LEBOX developed a complete design concept and manufactured components that were validated in mid-level wind tunnel tests. Its innovative technologies will play a major role in the development of lighter, more efficient and quieter aircraft. The project has prepared the way for large-scale testing and research into fluidic vortex generators to further increase lift and angle of attack in aircraft.

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