Not a drag: breakthrough will create cleaner, faster planes

July 9th, 2010 in Physics / General Physics

(PhysOrg.com) -- A world first model for predicting fluid flows close to surfaces will enable engineers to reduce drag in vehicles, and in turn, lead to more efficient and greener planes, cars and boats, according to a University of Melbourne study.

Research team leader and Federation Fellow Professor Ivan Marusic from the Department of at the University of Melbourne says skin-friction drag accounts for 50 per cent of fuel expenditure in aircraft, so even modest reductions in drag would save money and significantly reduce carbon emissions.

“When air flows over a surface, skin friction drag is created. Most of this drag is a result of the chaotic and unpredictable nature of the - the layer immediately between the object and the . Accurate knowledge of how this air flows over a surface will provide engineers with more detailed information about resistance,” he says.

The findings, published in Science this week, could also assist meteorologists in making more accurate weather predictions, and even improve a cyclist’s lap time.

More information: Predictive Model for Wall-Bounded Turbulent Flow, Science 9 July 2010: Vol. 329. no. 5988, pp. 193 - 196. DOI: 10.1126/science.1188765

Provided by University of Melbourne

"Not a drag: breakthrough will create cleaner, faster planes." July 9th, 2010. http://phys.org/news197898488.html