Wings that waggle airflow, directing it sideways, could cut down airline fuel usage by 20 percent because of research funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and Airbus in the UK.
Associate Professor Duncan Lockerby, with Coventry, UK-based University of Warwick, told the Cleantech Group today that he’s exploring a new approach to
reducing mid-flight drag through tiny air-powered jets that redirect air, making it flow perpendicular to the direction of motion. He envisions “hundreds of
thousands of jets of air potentially over the surface of the aircraft.” Warwick has received £1 million ($1.6 million) for the three-year project to better understand the physical mechanisms of the process and progress the technology.
The jets work according to the Helmholtz resonance principle—when air is forced into a cavity the pressure increases, which forces air out and sucks it back in again, causing an oscillation—similar to when air is blown over the orifice of a bottle.
We’re trying to exploit this blowing-over-a-bottle effect,” said Lockerby, who works in the University of Warwick’s Fluid Dynamics Research Centre in the School of Engineering and holds a doctorate in computational fluid dynamics.