Laminar Flow for Supersonic Transports

  • J. Mertens
Part of the International Centre for Mechanical Sciences book series (CISM, volume 366)


Supersonic transports are very drag sensitive. Technology to reduce drag by application of laminar flow, therefore, will be important; it is a prerequisite to achieve very long range capability. In earlier studies it was assumed that SCTs would only become possible by application of laminar flow [376]. But today, we request an SCT to be viable without application of laminar flow in order to maintain its competitiveness when laminar flow becomes available for subsonic and supersonic transports. By reducing fuel burned, laminar flow drag reduction reduces size and weight of the aircraft, or increases range capability -whereas otherwise size and weight would grow towards infinity. Transition mechanisms from laminar to turbulent state of the boundary layer flow (ALT, CFI, TSI) function as for transonic transports, but at more severe conditions: higher sweep angles, cooled surfaces; higher mode instabilities (HMI) must at least be taken into account, although they may not become important below Mach 3. Hitherto there is a worldwide lack of ground test facilities to investigate TSI at the expected cruise Mach numbers between 1.6 and 2.4; in Stuttgart, Germany one such facility -a Ludwieg tube- is still in the validation phase. A quiet Ludwieg tunnel could be a favourable choice for Europe. But it will require a new approach in designing aircraft which includes improved theoretical predictions, usage of classical wind tunnels for turbulent flow and flight tests for validation.


Wind Tunnel Flight Test Supersonic Wind Tunnel Parabolized Stability Equation Parabolized Stability Equation 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Mertens
    • 1
  1. 1.Daimler-Benz Aerospace Airbus GmbHBremenGermany

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