A Faster “Transition” to Laminar Flow
A discussion is given of the ongoing research related to laminar flow airfoils, nacelles, and wings where the laminar flow is maintained by a favorable pressure gradient, surface suction or a combination of the two. Design methologies for natural laminar flow airfoil sections and wings for both low and high speed applications are outlined. Tests of a 7-foot chord, 23° sweep laminar-flow-control-airfoil at high subsonic Mach numbers are described along with the associated stability theory used to design the suction system. The state-of-the-art of stability theory is simply stated and a typical calculation illustrated. In addition recent computer simulations of transition using the time dependent Navier-Stokes (N-S) equations are briefly described. Advances in wind tunnel capabilities and instrumentation will be reviewed followed by the presentation of a few results from both wind tunnels and flight. Finally, some suggestions for future work will complete the paper.