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Development of SmarT Eco-friendly anticontamination technologies for LAminaR wings

Project description

Smart anticontamination technology for laminar flow in aircraft

Aircraft drag reduction is important to reduce fuel consumption and improve overall performance. The aircraft industry is seeking methods to secure natural laminar flow and reduce the risks of turbulent flows. It is recognised that insect debris on the wings represents a major operational concern because it affects laminar flow. The EU-funded STELLAR project intends to develop effective and permanent anticontamination and cleaning applications based on accurate knowledge of the insect remnants' characteristics. The project will investigate the biochemical transformation of haemolymph, the fluid equivalent to blood in most insects, during flight and assess its impact on the aircraft exterior. It will also identify the surface properties that attract the most insect remnant adhesion.


The aircraft industry is facing issues with the increase of drag directly impacting the fuel consumption of the fleet. Achieving natural laminar flow requires high surface quality. Tiny air flow disturbances at the surface can indeed cause an early transition from laminar to turbulent flow. The accumulation of insect debris on the leading edge of laminar wings has been recognized as one of the most significant operational concerns associated with laminar flow. The main objective of STELLAR is to develop efficient and durable anticontamination coating and cleaning solutions designed following a deep understanding of the insect residues properties. Hence, STELLAR project seeks to gain insight on the understanding of the biochemical transformation of hemolymph during flight phases and the consequent physico-chemical modification and interaction with the aircraft surface. In order to meet these goals, the project consortium gathers cutting edge multidisciplinary knowledge and the needed facilities to provide a deep understanding of the insect contamination issues. STELLAR approach has the potential to significantly enhance the current understanding of the key issues and highlight which surface characteristics have the greatest influence on insect residue adhesion. From this approach, new coating and cleaning solutions will be developed. The knowledge acquired and the coating and cleaning solutions developed will be evaluated through large scale tests: 1) wind tunnel tests will allow the simulation of the extreme conditions occuring during flights and 2) real aircraft tests, including short flight tests (on test aircraft) and long flight tests (on commercial aircraft), operating at higher altitudes will allow a full validation of the new solutions developed by the STELLAR project.


Net EU contribution
€ 425 587,50
7000 Mons

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Région wallonne Prov. Hainaut Arr. Mons
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 425 587,50

Participants (8)