An Investigation of the Effects of the Propeller Slipstream on a Laminar Wing Boundary Layer
A research program is in progress to study the effects of the propeller slipstream on natural laminar flow. Flight and wind tunnel measurements of the wing boundary layer have been made using hot-film velocity sensor probes. The results show the boundary layer, at any given point, to alternate between laminar and turbulent states. This cyclic behavior is due to periodic external flow turbulence originating from the viscous wake of the propeller blades. Analytic studies show the cyclic laminar/turbulent boundary layer layer to result in a significantly lower wing section drag than a fully turbulent boundary layer. The application of natural laminar flow design philosophy yields drag reduction benefits in the slipstream affected regions of the airframe, as well as the unaffected regions.