New aerodynamics research will lead to more efficient aircraft and wind turbines

Planes that use far less fuel and wind turbines that significantly increase energy production will be the result of a new scientific project into aerodynamics, say researchers.

The EU-funded project, STA-DY-WI-CO, will work with novel materials, simulation techniques, processes, and components such as micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS), specifically with the aviation and wind turbine sectors in mind.

The research is being carried out by the Institute of Fluid Flow Machinery of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IMP PAN) and LMS International, a Belgian company specialised in fluid dynamics research.

Aerodynamics is a subdiscipline of fluid dynamics, the study of how gases move, such as air flowing under an aircraft wing, wind through a wind turbine or water through a hydroelectric dam.

According to the European Commission, who has funded the project, aerodynamics has become an increasingly important area of research that will have positive implications for the environment.

It says that better fluid dynamic designs will "probably have a major impact on everything from energy consumption and efficiency to the safety and longevity of a wide variety of applications and devices, from cars and aircraft to industrial machines".

Project coordinator professor Piotr Doerffer of IMP PAN said: "The most important topic in fluid dynamics research is related to aviation".

"In this respect, reducing emissions and weight are the key issues, as well as reducing noise, and therefore the topics being worked on in this project are at the core of research innovation for aviation," he added.

The partners are contributing to a variety of aviation-related initiatives, such as the Clean Sky project, which aims to develop a green helicopter that produces 25% to 40% fewer emissions per flight and halves the noise footprint of current helicopter designs.

Work is also being carried out into energy generation applications such as wind turbines which is expected to lead to better flow control of the turbine blades. The Commission says this has potential to significantly increase a wind turbine's energy production.

Leigh Stringer


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