NASA SBIR 02-1 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:02- A7.01-9537 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 022462 )
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Modeling and Control of Complex Flows Over Aerospace Vehicles and Propulsion Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE: Active Skin for Turbulent Drag Reduction

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
1700 Craft Drive, Suite 2413
Blacksburg , VA   24060 - 6374
(540 ) 231 - 3366

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Pavlos Vlachos
2000 Craft Drive, Suite 1104
Blacksburg , VA   24060 - 6374
(540 ) 951 - 3980

Drag reduction for aerial vehicles has a range of positive ramifications: reduced fuel consumption with the associated economic and environmental consequences, larger flight range and endurance and higher achievable flight speeds. Recent numerical results yielded solid evidence that very small disturbances in the form of a spanwise traveling force wave on a surface could reduce drag by 70%. Our past efforts showed that the same effects can be accomplished by a surface deformation traveling wave.
In this work, we propose to capitalize on our previous experience to develop a revolutionary ?smart? active skin for turbulent drag reduction. Traveling waves will be induced in the smart skin via active-material actuation. This is a ?micro-adaptive? flow control technique. Micro-scale wave amplitudes and energy inputs are sufficient to produce significant benefits. This device will be adaptive in the sense that wavelength, frequency and amplitude will be controlled on-line, in real-time, to produce optimal gains as the flow conditions change. Beyond the expected technological and scientific advances made during the project duration, the most important project deliverable will be a smart skin tailored for air vehicles.

Upon successful completion of the proposed work, we will be able to market this technology to a large number of customers in aviation and shipbuilding industry that can benefit by an efficient skin friction drag reduction method that is compatible with existing vehicle configurations. Autonomous Underwater Vehicle?s (AUV?s) represent a market that we are currently exploring. Here, drag reduction can alleviate the need for exotic power sources in order to achieve their specified speed, range and endurance while due to their unmanned character they provide a great platform for proving and maturing the technology. The improvements can be extrapolated towards ships or underwater bodies.

Skin friction drag accounts for a significant percentage of the total drag in aerial vehicles ranging from UAV?s to commercial airlines. Even moderate viscous drag reduction improvements will result in great savings in operational cost, payload, extend range and endurance. Successful completion of the research proposed herein will revolutionarize the aeronautical and aerospace industry. NASA?s mission advancing the aeronautical and aerospace technology will be supported by the research effort proposed herein. Enhancing our understanding of the fundamental mechanics of turbulent drag and providing experimental validation of novel theories and recent computational results will be a direct benefit.

Form Printed on 09-05-02 10:10