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Futuristic Aircraft Design

like to be able to see into the futurethat is an intriguing question that has been contemplated time and time againthroughout human history famous stories from the oracle of delphiall the way to the hysteria around the mayan calendar in modern towns have insome way dealt with the idea of humans seen into the future this idea has shaped popular culture andour science fiction with that one tantalizing idea of what f in the realworld the answer to the question of can we seeinto the future has been answered with a resounding now in our ever-evolvingsociety the trend today is to look

toward the future by relying onpredictive modeling to best predict the probability of an outcome but we allknow that even these well-thought-out predictions based on data often turn outto be not so predictable although it's clear that future eventsremain virtually unknowable there is one group within nasa that comes as close asyou can to seeing into the future throughout nasa's field centers membersof the fixed wing project team are peering into the future every day andcoming up with concepts that they believe will be on the next generationof aircraft because it takes years to plan and develop these concepts thehardware and theories that are being

tested today will be key components thatenable the next generation of aircraft to take flight on this episode of nasa ads follow usaround the country as we visit members of the fundamental aeronautics programsfixed wing project who are developing the framework that will shape howaircraft of the future will fly take a look behind the gates of nasa to seewhat some of these new ideas look like and how the engineers of nasa are pavingthe way for the ideas that will change the future of flight the untrained eye

most of the aircraft of today look verysimilar this is because over the past century of flight aeronautical engineershave worked hard to optimize passenger aircraft to the point where they are isefficient and safe as possible as a result the basic two men win shapehas been configured and examined from every possible angle making it the mostefficient design possible today although aircraft have left basicallythe same over the past few decades if you look closely you can see some of themajor design changes things that will once swept back more dramatically noware less so because of advances in aerodynamic shaping engines that spewedemissions by about time are now much

more efficient materials that will onceso heavy that they significantly way down a craft are now much lighter andstronger with all this improvement and efficiency it is fair to ask if there isanything else that can be done to make flight even better the answer is ofcourse yet behind the gates of nasa there are scores of researchers you knowthat we can still make aircraft better because they are working toward theselong-term goals everyday some of these researchers from the sixth win projectare working on so-called in plus three configurations and gold in mathematical terms the letter in iswhere you start now in plus one is the

next step in plus two is just beyondthat and so on here in the fixed wing project in + 3gquaids two aircraft that will be flying around the 2030 2035 timeframe for thisteam everything is on the table includingengines fuels wings and fuselage shapes will have to remember the first a nasaaeronautics national aeronautics and space administration aeronautics is tofeel research for the airplanes fly were research and experimented with inmany years ago so we're trying to continue that tradition important work that we have done for thenation on the wall for twenty years from

now 61 use another research firm activities to try to prove the air but iwouldn't be playing the future to try to make them less noisy better for theenvironment would try to make them they will use less fuel the research weredoing is important because air travel is such an important part of your lifepeople travel even if you don't travel cargo jets carried every single day toyou something every single day that gets carried by an aircraft part of our wayof life these days and it often gets taken for granted their challengesthough so pleased are focused on developing technologies and concepts toprove the energy efficiency and

environmental compatibility is transportaircraft with this mandate to significantly lower noise and emissionsand increase performance for subsonic aircraft there will be a need to addressvirtually every aspect of the current aircraft configuration includingdeveloping new materials and engines testing alternative fuels and evenchanging the fundamental shape of the aircraft all across the country fixed wing researchers are doing justthat major advancements are being made into the understanding of how futureaircraft will fly because there are so many areas of study let's first look atsomething that has the potential to be

used today as well as in the twentythirty timeframe alternative fuels on this beautiful morning at nasadriving in california's high desert a test called access for the alternativefuel effects on contrails and crews emissions test was performed to studythe effects of alternate biofuel on engine performance emissions andaircraft generated contrails at altitude for this test two aircraft will float intandem the first is nasa's dec 8 which will be burning and alternative fuel the second aircraft is nasa's docketthat will fly directly behind the dcaa 82 measure and characterize theemissions coming out of the engines from

the alternative fuels nasa's bruce anderson to explain hisrole is in assessing the combustion characteristics of alternative fuels aswell as determining how these deals with that performance and emissions fromaircraft to understand how aircraft climate we need to make measurements aresult so the focus of access or alternatively 60 contrails and crewsemissions whereas to fly behind the dca in flight and look at its ambition andcontrol characteristics as we changed from standard jet fuel to a fuel thatwas the end of a deal that was made from camelina oil and and also added fiftypercent of a day to that there are some

other groups out there tyson foods is making a bio bio jet fuelfrom chicken processing plant so there's a number of different ways of makingthese alternative fuels all of them resulted in a fairly clean kerosene that doesn't havenearly the containment providers fundamental thing is the aircraft has toretain its performance characteristics when you feel you can't have any drop inpower to fuel also has to have similar characteristics in terms of volume tocarefully so what we're looking at is drop-in fuels a lot of the fuel systemtold the aircraft were designed to rely

on the aromatics fossil fuels to swellthe seals to make a bleak type so one might fly an alternative fuel we have tomix it with standard fuel to retain those problems otherwise the fuel andthen the second thing we're looking at is just the emission characteristics bythat i mean the amount of pollution generated per kilogram of your book after the first few flights it was shownthat using these types of alternative fuels could significantly reduceemissions at cruising altitudes particularly suited missions workcontinues to better understand how to use these fuels and how to make themeven more efficient for future aircraft

the idea that aircraft today here looking at this unique designbecause designers have included a clever design has the potential to operatecloser to advances in battery technology but those are happening throughout theworld independent station history and we'retrying to leverage that you like ours which is built into our airplaneseventually the challenges to take those batteries have no energy or powercontent and have been be lightweight where we are today i think is we're atthe dawn of the age where we could start see electric propulsion hybrid electricpropulsion and if you see it on small

aircraft first before you see it on thelarge commercial transports that's what we're working towards that's good for cleanliness that's goodfor noise energy efficiency has its challenges that's why we're working on it that'swhy it's not being done today the idea behind this vehicle is to have its twinengines burn fuel and great powers needed like it take off when the craftis in a crease configuration ass which can be made over to a battery-electricto supplement or even replace power to the engines if successful this couldreduce the amount of fuel burn by up to

70% another concept called turboelectric propulsion is being studied here at the nasa glenn research center jerry brown to explain there's not beenelected airplanes and attracting very small size and the reason is theelectric motors and generators tend to be too heavy for white we're hoping tochange that and we're hoping to get a bit frustrating process thehydroelectric we're talking about the various electric propulsion we're goingto keep the termination because it's really good cars lot of power smallpower player and then we're going to use its power to drive the generator sendelectricity to motors drive fans

this concept will look very differentfrom vehicles of today as well potential designs include two largeturbine engines on the wing tips that will drive to large generators insidethe body the generators will in turn power a number of fans providing thepropulsion the aircraft needs to fly what we want to do here is want to beable to great determination from the fans gives the aircraft is another oneof freedom itself had just engine and trans don't have to turn the same speedfans and that's what we're really looking for a reg baby 1500 just enteryou might to keep just too big engines because this idea is intriguing but bigchanges need to be made to make it

viable when major challenges the need toreduce the size of the generators because the generators of today are waytoo big to fit on an aircraft one idea that the nasa team is looking at is away to remove the current type of copper windings in the generator and replace itwith superconducting material this change would allow the generators toshrink making them liable to bid on future aircraft new aircraft is the potential to greatlyimprove efficiency another these revolutionary design has come out of ajoint mit and metastatic this unique design is called the double bubble andhas the potential to reduce fuel burn by

up to 70% as well mit eight double bubble design somethingthat working with working with a number of years on that idea there is to takesome of the lift that you would normally get from the wings in trying to movethat to know the thing that's done to enable laminar flow on this vehicle isto reduce the sweet but the wings it is easier to maintain laminar flow thewings instead of being swept back like a lot of commercial transports are moreserve perpendicular to the side of the bodies of land another aspect of thedeviated prudently discusses something you can see in these pictures behind youcan see the picture on the right

comes from cfd what we call in thepotted configuration spotted separately off to the side the ideas we hope to gethere stream that's relatively painted by what's happening over the airplane ofpressures to go into infantry or propulsion image in themiddle on the other hand have been moved inside that tight lil configuration andby doing that we actually get some benefits if you can use the engines torefill that area did here behind the plane you have a chance at being moreefficient in terms of propulsion for that vehicle given a certain amount ofyou for trying to push the envelope see what is the maximum benefit that couldbe obtained by this time the

configuration to understand what'sreally possible wonders if you'll see 18 much of the work is improvedcomputational fluid dynamics and wind tunnel testing right here in thisbuilding we have played a supercomputer which is one of the largestsupercomputers in the usa in the world it has 200,000 processors working on theproblem if you use the home machine on one problem so it's a very large machineand we need that very large machine tools we need to do very big problem nota research director who were using it for his try and simulate the flow overthe simplest reconfigurations so in order to capture all the details you seeon the vehicle like this

including what's going on inside thecombustors of the engines and things like that you need to have a lot of gridpoints to resolve all the food motion inside those engines over there playingand having that many good points to resolve all that physics in threedimensions creates very large computational grids require very bigmachine means to advance the cover the motion toget these cfd computational fluid dynamics solutions that we used to makeourself aerodynamicists of today are able to model ideas on computers whichallows them to test many different configurations before a window modelsever built

once a design is agreed upon a windtunnel model can then be fabricated and tested this process was used for thedouble-double as well but the wind tunnel tests showed surprising resultswere good news is that we've just completed the first test of thisconfiguration in the langley 14 by 22 wind tunnel at langley it showed even more a greater reductionor he will efficiency benefits of this technology than we had predicted onpaper with our are low so we're trying to digest the experimental data thatshow this nice benefit in fuel efficiency from this configuration atthe same time we're also using the

supercomputer here at that scene playeda supercomputer to do computational fluid dynamics cfd runs ofthe same configuration and see if we can confirm that benefit on thecomputational side as well as team will continue on the double bubble and if theresults hold you may see this type of aircraft in an airport near you in thefuture when testing aircraft many different stages of her we have alreadymentioned cfd and wind tunnel testing but another tool in testing futuredesigns is to build a flying skill model although cfd and window modeling is themainstay often test flights of these small scaled-downversions of an aircraft offer some of

the most dramatic results forresearchers that is the case with this aircraft called the x 56 aircraft is being used as a test bed tounderstand how different configurations work and how a unique idea called activecontrol may be used in the future holds beyond their trip is long known thatvery long wingspan goal is more efficient than short wings vehicleproblem is when you get very long wingspan you start to get into issueswith modern modes start to creep into the vehicle the wing will go on stable and inextreme cases will rip off the vehicle

to get around that problem you can useflight controls to suppress those remote control as you put things like excelrumors with him a wing and it soon as you sense the wind is starting to getinto these modes use the control surfaces behind the way to be out thereare plenty of the flyers continually fighting these people mostly straightthen you can build a lighter long-term goal is more efficient this be a call bythe airport through the filter of a multi-utility technology they call itfrom what i heard and open to a lot of different kind of testing but we are removed all the input on aplain white wing you could do it joined

wing configuration learned quite a bitfrom kathleen this kind of vehicle right now the focus is on flexible wing andactivex control of rebel wins but in the future there are many experimentsvehicle the research on the control oflightweight flexible wins being performed today on the x 56 is key toenabling the long low drag and low weight wings of tomorrow's in plus threeconfigurations much is going into understanding what itwill take to improve the already incredibly efficient aircraft of today into ultra efficient vehicles of thefuture although we don't have all the

answers yet it's clear that nafta andit's brilliant engineers and researchers are helping to lead the way to a saferand more efficient way to travel we are no where near done we can get outof this industry there is a lot of work to do that's what my team is doingthat's what we're doing with it and i cannot wait for the future


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