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Wind-Tunnel and CFD Investigations Focused on Transition and Performance Predictions of Laminar Wings

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This paper is a continuation of the paper recently published by Hue et al. (“Experimental and Numerical Methods for Transition and Drag Predictions of Laminar Airfoils,” AIAA Journal, Vol. 53, No. 9, Sept. 2015, pp. 2694–2712) that focused on transition and drag predictions of laminar airfoils. The extension of such studies to three-dimensional configurations representative of modern civil aircraft is a further step toward the implementation of natural laminar-flow technologies. The present work, therefore, focuses on validating the laminar design of a low-swept wing for business jet applications. In 2015, an experimental campaign was carried out in the European Transonic Windtunnel, and included laminar/turbulent transition measurements with temperature-sensitive paint at Mach and Reynolds numbers typical of cruise flight conditions. Subsequently, fluid dynamics computations were performed on this aircraft geometry either with a Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes solver using both Tollmien–Schlichting and crossflow transition criteria, or with a boundary-layer code using either database methods for transition location or exact stability analyses. In this paper, experimental and numerical transition predictions are compared for three representative cases corresponding to different angles of attack. The agreement that is achieved is satisfactory, and extended regions of laminar flow are observed on the wing at cruise lift levels. In these conditions, the drag reduction can account for 10–15% of the aircraft drag.


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