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Reference Number EP/T020946/1
Title (EnAble): Developing and Exploiting Intelligent Approaches for Turbulent Drag Reduction
Status Started
Energy Categories ENERGY EFFICIENCY(Transport) 95%;
Research Types Basic and strategic applied research 100%
Science and Technology Fields ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (Mechanical, Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering) 100%
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 100%
Principal Investigator Dr R Whalley

Sch of Engineering
Newcastle University
Award Type Standard
Funding Source EPSRC
Start Date 01 March 2021
End Date 16 January 2025
Duration 47 months
Total Grant Value £627,076
Industrial Sectors Aerospace; Defence and Marine; Transport Systems and Vehicles
Region North East
Programme NC : Engineering
Investigators Principal Investigator Dr R Whalley , Sch of Engineering, Newcastle University (99.998%)
  Other Investigator Dr K J Wilson , Sch of Maths, Statistics and Physic, Newcastle University (0.001%)
Dr Y Guan , Sch of Computin, Newcastle University (0.001%)
  Industrial Collaborator Project Contact , Airbus UK Ltd (0.000%)
Web Site
Abstract Whenever air flows over a commercial aircraft or a high-speed train, a thin layer of turbulence is generated close to the surface of the vehicle. This region of so-called wall-turbulence generates a resistive force known as skin-friction drag which is responsible for more than half of the vehicle's energy consumption. Taming the turbulence in this region reduces the skin-friction drag force, which in turn reduces the vehicle's energy consumption and thereby reduces transport emissions, leading to economic savings and wider health and environmental benefits through improved air quality. To place this into context, just a 3% reduction in the turbulent skin-friction drag force experienced by a single long-range commercial aircraft would save 1.2M in jet fuel per aircraft per year and prevent the annual release of 3,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. There are currently around 23,600 aircraft in active service around the world. Active wall-turbulence control is seen as a key upstream technology currently at very low technology readiness level that has the potential to deliver a step change in vehicle performance. Yet despite this significance and well over 50 years of research, the complexity of wall-turbulence has prevented the realisation of any functional and economical fluid-flow control strategies which can reduce the turbulent skin-friction drag forces of industrial air flows of interest.The EnAble project aims to develop, implement and exploit machine intelligence paradigms to enable a new approach to wall-turbulence control. This new form of intelligent fluid-flow control will be used to develop practical wall-turbulence control strategies that can rapidly and autonomously optimise the aerodynamic surface with minimal power input whilst being adaptive to changes in flow speed. This new capability will open up the opportunity to discover new ways to tame wall-turbulence and exploit the latest drag reduction mechanisms to generate significant levels of turbulent skin-friction drag reduction.
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 02/07/21