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Project description

Improving hybrid laminar-flow control wing structures with reduced drag

Controlling the flow of air around an aircraft by making that flow laminar can reduce fuel consumption and cut emissions by up to 10 %. In Clean Sky’s Hybrid Laminar Flow Control (HLFC) demonstrator, part of the turbulent airflow around the aircraft is sucked through microperforations on its skin, creating a more stable aerodynamic flow. To reduce HLFC complexity and control suctions, Clean Sky uses variable pitch microperforations along the outer skin of wings. This allows a much easier integration of HLFC systems inside the small space of the leading edge. The EU-funded MICROFORM project will develop a suitable forming process for manufacturing real-scale HLFC wing structures made of thin titanium sheets with variable pitch microperforation. Furthermore, it will conduct simulations to minimise the initial design and manufacturing costs of these large structures.


One of the main challenges on Hybrid Laminar Flow Control (HLFC) wing design, is to integrate the HLFC systems (vacuum chambers, pipes…etc.) inside the small space of the leading Edge, together with de-icing and high lift systems. Clean Sky 2 aims to reduce HLFC complexity by using variable pitch microperforations along the outer skin in order to control suctions without necessity of internal chambering. Variable microperforation entails a new challenge that must be investigated before deciding on the most suitable skin forming technology and material for new generation of HLFC demo structures, which will contribute to reduce 10% both fuel consumption and pollutant emissions in future aircrafts.

To achieve this goal, MICROFORM project will develop i) a suitable forming process for the real-scale manufacturing of leading edge HLFC wing outer skins and ii) supporting simulation tools to minimize initial process development costs of large structures composed by both constant and variable microperforation patterns meeting requested quality criteria and dimensional tolerances.

The achievement of these objectives will result in the following Key Exploitable Results:

− Material property data of microperforated Ti Gr 2 and Ti Gr 5.
− New knowledge about possibilities and limitations to form titanium microperforated sheets with variable patterns.
− Hot and stretch forming process parameters and conditions for aimed materials and geometries.
− Hot and stretch forming simulation tool.
− New knowledge about possibilities and limitations to reduce manufacturing costs of large forming tools.

The implementation of MICROFORM is carried out by a multidisciplinary consortium, formed by research and industrial entities who are experts in the development of simulation tools (LORTEK, HZG) and forming technologies (SOFITEC, FORMTECH) to manufacture small and large-scale demonstrators of microperforated titanium sheets for leading


Net EU contribution
€ 393 861,25
Arranomendia kalea 4 a
20240 Ordizia

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Noreste País Vasco Gipuzkoa
Activity type
Research Organisations
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (3)