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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Plasma Flow Control for Drag Reduction

Completed Technology Project
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Project Description

Plasma Flow Control for Drag Reduction, Phase I
Fuel costs have historically been the largest single cost associated with aircraft operations; improved efficiency therefore translates directly to the bottom line. The worldwide aviation industry is a significant emitter of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases; the International Civil Aviation Organization puts it at 2% of the global anthropogenic total. The impact of these emissions is amplified even more, however, because they go directly into the upper troposphere. We propose an efficient plasma-based method for drag reduction which, when fully developed will directly translate to reduced fuel consumption and reduced emissions. The proposed Phase I effort will involve a combined experimental and numerical investigation aimed at a proof-of-concept implementation of the drag-reducing technology. In follow-on Phase II work, the ITAC-led team will work to expand the flight envelope over which the plasma-based method can be applied. More »

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