Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


GBSSD(3) — Result In Brief

Project ID: 296092
Funded under: FP7-JTI
Country: United Kingdom

Natural laminar flow technology showcased

Natural laminar flow (NLF) wings could reduce drag and cut fuel consumption in next-generation aircraft. An EU-funded project successfully delivered the critical leading-edge assemblies and cover solutions that form parts of the NLF wing section.
Natural laminar flow technology showcased
An NLF wing is very different from a conventional wing, requiring extensive changes to wing architecture, aerofoil definition and detailed design and manufacturing concepts. The slender sections and very high-tolerance surface finishes and joints also represent new challenges for the aviation industry.

The GBSSD(3) (Ground-based structural & systems demonstrator phase 3 – component and sub-system manufacture) project investigated novel leading-edge architecture and materials, as well as advanced manufacturing processes such as additive layer manufacturing.

Project members developed a 4.3 metre laminar-flow ground demonstrator to validate manufacturing aspects of previously developed innovative leading-edge designs. The demonstrator is representative of the leading edge (a forward-swept wing with spanwise joints) and a part of the wing-box support structure.

Unlike conventional section designs (which comprise a composite skin and standard metallic rib design), the advanced designs included several features to meet the tight design-tolerance requirements of NLFs. In particular, the advanced wing section was made up of a leading-edge panel incorporating electro-thermal wing ice-protection technology with an integrated erosion shield. Advanced Krueger flap devices were also fitted to the leading edge supported by additively manufactured ribs and lightning strike protection was incorporated into the leading-edge zone.

GBSSD(3)'s wing section was manufactured to prove the operational feasibility of the NLF in terms of reducing drag in future aircraft.

Related information


Natural laminar flow, leading-edge, additive layer manufacturing, ice-protection, flap devices
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