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Energies 2018, 11(1), 252; doi:10.3390/en11010252

Drag Reduction by Laminar Flow Control

Aeronautics Research Center Niedersachsen (NFL), TU Braunschweig, Hermann-Blenk-Straße 27, 38108 Braunschweig, Germany
Institute of Fluid Mechanics (ISM), TU Braunschweig, Hermann-Blenk-Straße 37, 38108 Braunschweig, Germany
Institute of Aerodynamics and Flow Technology (DLR-AS), German Aerospace Center, Lilienthalplatz 7, 38108 Braunschweig, Germany
Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, Delft University of Technology, Kluyverweg 1, 2629 HS Delft, The Netherlands
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 December 2017 / Revised: 13 January 2018 / Accepted: 15 January 2018 / Published: 20 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Towards a Transformation to Sustainable Aviation Systems)


The Energy System Transition in Aviation research project of the Aeronautics Research Center Niedersachsen (NFL) searches for potentially game-changing technologies to reduce the carbon footprint of aviation by promoting and enabling new propulsion and drag reduction technologies. The greatest potential for aerodynamic drag reduction is seen in laminar flow control by boundary layer suction. While most of the research so far has been on partial laminarization by application of Natural Laminar Flow (NLF) and Hybrid Laminar Flow Control (HLFC) to wings, complete laminarization of wings, tails and fuselages promises much higher gains. The potential drag reduction and suction requirements, including the necessary compressor power, are calculated on component level using a flow solver with viscid/inviscid coupling and a 3D Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) solver. The effect on total aircraft drag is estimated for a state-of-the-art mid-range aircraft configuration using preliminary aircraft design methods, showing that total cruise drag can be halved compared to today’s turbulent aircraft. View Full-Text
Keywords: drag reduction; laminar flow control; boundary layer suction; transition; aircraft design drag reduction; laminar flow control; boundary layer suction; transition; aircraft design

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Beck, N.; Landa, T.; Seitz, A.; Boermans, L.; Liu, Y.; Radespiel, R. Drag Reduction by Laminar Flow Control. Energies 2018, 11, 252.

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