Impact of the project

DRAGY will make a significant contribution to improving the performance of new aircraft. It will deliver a major step forward in the design of novel configuration aircraft which will have reduced operating costs and lower emissions than today’s standard of aircraft due to the reductions in fuel burn brought about by lower viscous drag levels (the fuel cost can represent well in excess of 30% of the whole commercial aircraft direct operating costs). In this way the consortium will help maintain the steady growth that the industry is currently demonstrating and ensure that the European aeronautics industry retains its competitive edge. In the current commercial climate this is more important than ever.

DRAGY project will contribute to the European goal to make transport growth and sustainability compatible, by decoupling environmental impacts from economic growth, while assuring the competitiveness and the innovative character of the European transport industry. The project brings together world-class experts in the specific technology areas with the aim of delivering the breakthrough in flow control technology focused on skin friction drag reduction. The consortium, consisting of universities, research organisations and industry, ensures that the created knowledge is exploited by industry and is available to the wider community for education purposes.

DRAGY addresses this issue by identifying technologies that could be matured and incorporated into a commercial aircraft utilising flow control to target the viscous drag component of total drag. Such an aircraft could have 10% higher cruise lift-to-drag ratios than an equivalent aircraft without flow control. In addition the Turbulent Skin Friction Drag Reduction technology investigated within DRAGY may be appropriate for retrofitting on existing aircraft. It is not necessarily reliant on the adoption of a novel configuration.

Moreover, the consequence of improved knowledge of viscous drag reducing technologies within the context of aeronautics will be to further increase the market share of European designed and manufactured aircraft. However viscous drag is also present in engineering problems outside of the aeronautics industrial sector. For example it affects the energy consumption of ground transportation systems and impacts turbine efficiency. If an effective means of reducing viscous drag can be developed for an aircraft application this may also be suitable for application in non-aeronautical industrial sectors specifically:

  1. Increase in High Speed Train fuel efficiency through skin friction drag reduction.
  2. Increase in Wind Turbine efficiency through increased L/D (by reducing viscous drag component).
  3. Increase in the fluid flow (reduction in pressure losses) in long transnational pipelines.

These opportunities will be addressed by ensuring visibility of the project achievements in non-aeronautical sectors through the dissemination activities.