Intelligent Vortex Generators
New generation of aerodynamic control surfaces for aviation
For many years static vortex generators have been a popular choice to influence the airstream along the fuselage or down the wings. With the vortex generators creating a turbulent flow, energy is added to the boundary layer, so it will be actively stabilized. They facilitate a higher lift coefficient, and a vortex generator equipped aircraft may fly slower. The price will always be a significantly higher drag, though. This means a negative influence especially during fast flight. To avoid this effect, the idea was to adjust the vortex generators according to the specific situation.
Research Project together with IVW Kaiserslautern
In the context of a research project together with the Kaiserslautern Institute for Composite Materials, we have since 2014 – with the aid of shape memory alloys – been developing intelligent vortex generators. At first we designed serviceable actuators to be integrated into the wing surface. In this context we were able to combine advantages of so called bi-metals and modern composite structures. The outcome was a very thin actuator, which is characterized by a small installation space, low weight, energy efficiency and which has a kink-free contour.
Wind tunnel testing
In October 2016 an intensive wind tunnel testing was executed at the Institute of Aerodynamics and Gas Dynamics at the University of Stuttgart. During the testing, DG Flugzeugbau’s wind tunnel model, which measures about 60cm of length and equals a wing section of the DG-1000, was calibrated with and without vortex generators. Additional tests were executed with different angles of attack and aileron deflection. Finally, the wind tunnel tests verified our theoretical considerations to the full extent.
Flight testing with the DG-1001
In October 2017, we executed flight tests with a modified DG-1001. A DG-1001Club was equipped with vortex generators, which can be activated by pushing a button in the cockpit.
This project is supported by the Federal Ministry of Economy and Energy due to a resolution of the upper house of the German Parliament. (# KF2117803CK4)