Energy-Deposition to Reduce Skin Friction in Supersonic Applications

Period of Performance: 01/01/2014 - 12/31/2014


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Physics, Materials, and Applied Mathematics Research, LLC
1665 E. 18th Street Suite 112
Tucson, AZ 85719
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


NASA has drawn attention to an impending need to improve energy-efficiency in low supersonic (M<~3) platforms. Aerodynamic efficiency is the foundation of energy-efficient flight in any regime, and low drag is one of the fundamental characteristics of aerodynamic efficiency. For supersonic aircraft, drag can be broadly decomposed into four components: viscous or skin friction drag, lift-induced drag, wave or compressibility drag, and excrescence drag. The relative impact of these four drag forces depends upon vehicle-specific characteristics and design. However, viscous skin friction drag stands out as particularly significant across most classes of flight vehicles. Therefore, effective techniques to reduce skin friction drag on a vehicle will have a major and far-reaching impact on flight efficiency for low supersonic aircraft. In an effort to address the need for increased aerodynamic efficiency of low supersonic vehicles, PM & AM Research, in collaboration with Texas A & M University, propose to build upon our successful Phase I effort to mature/develop our novel energy deposition technologies, using basic, well-demonstrated energy-deposition techniques along the surface in supersonic flow to control/compress/forcibly-move the boundary layer fluid by creating a low-density "bubble-like" region, thereby reducing the viscous skin friction. Once matured, this solution will reduce the drag experienced by a low supersonic platform, allowing vehicles to exhibit increased aerodynamic efficiency.