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Natural Laminar Flow (NLF)

 Natural Laminar Flow (NLF)

How Natural Laminar Flow (NLF) shaped Airbus's BLADE (Breakthrough Laminar Aircraft Demonstrator in Europe) project under the EU's Clean Sky program?

What was the outcome?

  •  Controlling the Laminar airflow over the wing surface to push the transition point is the key.
  •  NLF is the advanced leading-edge technology applied on the wing for fuel efficiency & emission-reduction efforts by reducing wing drag up to 50%.
  •  Airbus’s A340 laminar-flow “BLADE” test demonstrator aircraft made a successful test flights with modified Outer wings in September 2017.

 The experimental wings, which fitted a 30 ft metallic outboard section on each side, had:

  •  A CFRP upper laminar flow surface.
  •  Isolation from the inner wing.
  •  Two Ailerons on each side.
  •  Wing sweep of 20° for a Mach 0.75 cruise (instead of regular 30° for a Mach 0.82–0.84 cruise).

  'BLADE' Outcome :

  •  Both outer wings with their Upper-CFRP continuously generated the desired effect.
  •  However, the CFRP LH wing leading edge & Metallic RH wing leading edge showed small differences in aerodynamic effects.
  •  Surprisingly, Laminar flow demonstrated 50% of chord length instead of just aft of the leading edge.
  •  It Reduced the overall aircraft drag by 8% & up to 5% fuel saving on an 800nm range.

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