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GBSSD(2) — Result In Brief

Project ID: 270601
Funded under: FP7-JTI

Honing the future of aircraft wings

Achieving natural laminar flow (NLF) over the surface of aircraft wings minimises drag, improves performance and reduces emissions. EU-funded scientists developed a ground-based prototype showcasing design concepts.
Honing the future of aircraft wings
The NLF wing is a pillar of next-generation aircraft concepts and of the Clean Sky programme, Europe's most ambitious aerospace research programme ever. Compared to conventional turbulent wings, NLF wings require different wing architecture, airfoil definition, and design and manufacturing concepts. Engineers are faced with very tight tolerances for surface roughness and waviness, and surface contamination.

The EU-funded project 'Design and manufacture of a ground based structural/systems demonstrator (phase 2)' (GBSSD(2)) focused on developing a detailed design for the leading edge (LE) of an NLF wing. Scientists built on recommendations resulting from phase 1 of the programme regarding joints and wing ice protection systems (WIPSs). Several key issues were addressed such as the demonstration of a WIPS integrated within the LE skin under thermal cycling conditions, an LE erosion shield with full lightning protection and an operational Krueger flap (lift enhancement) mechanism. Six comprehensive engineering reports were delivered covering these topics as well as reliability and maintainability.

Work conducted in GBSSD(2) lays the groundwork for phase 3 validation of design and manufacturing concepts. Manufacture, flight test and certification of a composite NLF wing will play a pivotal role in fulfilling the Clean Sky initiative's goals. Next generation of aircraft will have significantly reduced fuel consumption and associated emissions. This should also enhance the competitiveness of the European aerospace industry.

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