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Archive for April, 2014

A Tail of Innovation

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Israel Wygnanski‘s active flow control systems may well be pushing the aircraft industry to the brink of the next major shift in design.

Commercial airplanes tend to have oversized tails to help the pilots maintain control over the aircraft in case of an engine failure. (Image courtesy of Boeing)

“This new tool could change the entire way we design airplanes,” said Wygnanski, professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering in the University of Arizona College of Engineering.

Wygnanski has been developing, testing and perfecting active flow control technology for 40 years. For the last four years, he has worked with Emilio Graff, director of the Lucas Wind Tunnel at the California Institute of Technology, creating active flow control technology that promises to usher in smaller, lighter, quieter, more efficient airplanes. Active flow control refers to the manipulation of a flow field – through the addition of energy – to improve the performance of a solid body moving in a fluid, such as an airplane moving through the air. (more…)

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