Wings that direct air to waggle sideways could cut airline fuel bills by 20 per cent

June 3rd, 2009 - 4:27 pm ICT by ANI  

Canberra, June 3 (ANI): Researchers in the UK have found that wings which direct air to waggle sideways could cut airline fuel bills by 20 per cent.

According to a report in, the new research could have a major impact on the aerodynamic design and fuel consumption not only of planes but also of cars, boats and trains.

The new approach uses tiny air powered jets to redirect the air, making it flow sideways back and forth over the wing and dramatically reducing mid-flight drag.

When air is forced into a cavity the pressure increases, forcing air out and sucking it back in again, causing oscillation.

“This has come as a bit of a surprise to all of us in the aerodynamics community. It was discovered, essentially, by waggling a piece of wing from side to side in a wind tunnel,” said Dr Duncan Lockerby, from the University of Warwick, who is leading the project.

“The truth is we’re not exactly sure why this technology reduces drag but with the pressure of climate change we can’t afford to wait around to find out. So, we are pushing ahead with prototypes and have a separate three year project to look more carefully at the physics behind it,” he added.

“This could help drastically reduce the environmental cost of flying,” said Simon Crook, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) aerospace manager.

The research was undertaken by the University of Warwick and funded by the EPSRC and Airbus. It is being carried out with scientists at Cardiff, Imperial, Sheffield, and Queen’s University Belfast.

It is hoped the new wings, although currently in the concept stage, could be ready for trials as early as 2012. (ANI)

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