Boundary-Layer Control for Drag Reduction
Although the number of possible applications of boundary-layer control is large, a discussion is given only of those that have received the most attention recently at NASA Langley Research Center to improve airfoil drag characteristics. This research concerns stabilizing the laminar boundary layer through geometric shaping (natural laminar flow, NLF) and active control involving the removal of a portion of the laminar boundary layer (laminar flow control, LFC) either through discrete slots or a perforated surface. At low Reynolds numbers, a combination of shaping and forced transition has been used to achieve the desired run of laminar flow and control of laminar separation. In the design of both natural laminar flow and laminar flow control airfoils and wings, boundary layer stability codes play an important role. A discussion of some recent stability calculations using both incompressible and compressible codes is given.