Testing for Laminar Flow on New Aircraft


The 2020 ACARE targets present a challenge to the aircraft manufacturers to reduce CO2 emissions through engine efficiency and aircraft design improvements. A “pro-green” aircraft configuration has been proposed that has a significantly higher aspect ratio wing and lower wing sweep than today’s standard designs. This reduction in sweep opens the possibility to design a wing for natural laminar flow (NLF). Such a wing could enable 20% wing drag reduction compared to today’s designs.

Therefore, the main objective of TELFONA is to demonstrate the ability to predict NLF aircraft performance in flight based on wind tunnel test and CFD results. This capability will allow industry to validate the design of such aircraft, which are predicted to have up to 20% lower drag than today’s aircraft. Through this ambition, TELFONA clearly meets two main aeronautics thematic area objectives:

  • Strengthening the competitiveness of the manufacturing industry in the global market

The development of optimised NLF wings, which could reduce drag by 20%. This will enable the manufacturing of future cost-effectiveness aircraft thanks to a significant reduction on production cost (thanks to the prediction of performance prior to the project launch) and operational cost (fuel consumption).

  • Improving the environmental impact with regard to emissions and noise

Laminar flow has the potential to make a major contribution to drag reduction for future transport aircraft. Increased drag reduction will directly lead to reduced fuel consumption of the aircraft and this will be the focus of TELFONA.

The successful completion of the project will result in two wind tunnel model tests and improved transition prediction methods. The first “pathfinder” model will be tested in the European Transonic Windtunnel (ETW) with the results being used to calibrate transition prediction methods and to provide insight into the receptivity problem. The second “performance” model will be designed using the calibrated methods and will be used to demonstrate the potential of a large NLF aircraft.

The project consortium consists of 15 organisations from eight different countries whose researchers have significant experience in the areas of wing design, laminar flow technology and wind tunnel testing. TELFONA is structured into five technical Work Packages and a dedicated Work Package for project management and exploitation activities.

Dr.rer.nat. Christian Klein
Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR)

Institut für Aerodynamik und Strömungstechnik
, Experimentelle Verfahren
Tel: +49 551 709-2440

Fax: +49 551 709-2830

E-Mail: Christian.Klein@dlr.de
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