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Ultra-High Aspect ratio wings

The most “easy” way to improve the aerodynamic efficiency and performance of an aircraft is to increase its aspect ratio of its wings. Increasing the aspect ratio has a direct effect on the induced drag. Increasing the aspect ratio while satisfying the design constraints that have to date limited aspect ratios of modern transport aircraft wings, such as aero-elasticity and buffeting; structural design and weight limitations; fuel capacity; and practical issues such as airport runway/taxiway and gate dimensions may yield a sizeable potential benefit in fuel burn and emissions. Long, slender wings may necessitate radically different structural and manufacturing concepts. Load control systems may prove essential to the feasibility of very high aspect ratio designs. Optimal wing span may lead to the need for folding outer wing sections. This topic aims to provide a preliminary design study involving the capture of the current state of the art, an analysis of potential gains through the use of very high aspect ratio wings in the various transport aircraft market segments [regional, short-medium and long range]. Different design concepts should be analysed, paying particular attention to design constraints such as those mentioned above. A proposed ‘best in class’ conceptual/preliminary design should be completed, starting from a selected reference aircraft for comparison in terms of performance. The estimated gains should be validated experimentally by scaled model wind tunnel tests, at least in terms of aerodynamic performance, possibly in terms of noise performance as well. Please refer to the full topic descriptions document published in this call.