The Fuel-Efficient Aircraft Of The Future


Researchers in Texas, US, are using a Stampede Super-computer to create fuel efficient wing designs for jet planes while developing tools that can aid the industry to become more resourceful in their type of aircraft. By exploring longer wing spans composed from complex composites that can morph during flight, the way we travel by air could be in for some innovative changes.

Flying has become considerably cheaper, faster, safer and greener over the last six decades and researchers are now wanting to improve that even further. The development of new, high aspect ratio wings are much greater in size/span than the ones we use in the standard plane today. Improvements in the wing design have the potential to improve efficiency by up to ten percent which would lower both the cost of travel and pollution caused by the transport.

The standard plane used today features about fifty percent composites materials all of which are placed in a relatively simple form. New automatic fibre placement machines however could place such composites in complicated curved forms creating tow-steered composite wings.

Today’s aircraft uses roughly eighty percent less fuel per-passenger-mile than the original aircrafts of the 1950’s. Which in itself is a huge testimony to the tremendous impact aerospace engineering has had on flight. Despite best efforts, global emissions are still expected to rise over the next twenty years due to a doubling in air travel, even by making small changes and advancements engineers can have a large impact on the economy and the environment. With transportation being the modern backbone of the economy any difference that can be made for the better, even if this is only a fraction of change on fuel efficiency, can have hugely positive overall effects.

When new technologies are applied costs and pollution could become lowered with an efficiency increase of ten percent. This process is challenging as there is not huge amounts of intuition on the utilizing of this type of technology. Morphing wings that are able to change shape while maintaining maximum performance regardless of speed, altitude or weight, is certainly a huge advancement in the right direction.

Researchers are considering new materials and morphing mechanisms to make their theories become realities in more energy efficient, economically friendly air transportation. Concepts that previously seemed impossible could integrate within society sooner than we think!

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