A robust measurement system capable of determining transition location, separation, and shock locations for both flight and ground test facilities has significant potential application at several NASA centers, and across a wide range of NASA facilities. The accurate determination of boundary-layer transition and separation locations can be used to validate computational fluid dynamics models, transition prediction, and multidisciplinary analysis and optimization tools. The system could be used in boundary-layer ingestion and optimization efforts. In a more permanent set-up, the robust measurement system could be used as input for vehicle adaptive control in uncertain environments or adverse conditions, or for closed loop flow control for aircraft, rotorcraft, or high lift technologies. The measurement system's relatively simple, robust technology, coupled with its reusable nature make it a very attractive, cost effective system. With the significant push for increased efficiency and reduced fuel consumption, laminar flow, and increasing its extent on aircraft surfaces is a fundamental aerodynamic goal. The proposed measurement system will help NASA meet both the Environmentally Responsible Aircraft (ERA) and Subsonic Fixed Wing Project goals.
Advanced sensing technology for both ground and flight test facilities that can determine transition location, regions of separated flow, and the locations of shock waves will provide RHRC with a unique and highly marketable product. The ability to measure laminar/turbulent transition and separation locations will be of significant importance to both test engineers and researchers. With the current high costs of both flight and ground testing, coupled with reduced design and test schedules, the proposed technology will be highly desirable in military, government, and civilian testing markets. The technology developed by RHRC and Q-flex under this program will allow efficient and cost effective measurements on vehicles across a wide range of applications other than aircraft. These include automobiles and hydrodynamic applications. RHRC and Q-flex will be able to provide complete sensor systems. The technology can also be easily licensed. Any surface where aerodynamic performance is a concern is a potential application of the technology. The technology has a very large audience in both government and commercial research and development.