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[SFRC] Vortex reduction
I thought this clip, from Flight International, was cool. I know that
some gliders use winglets... has anyone seen this in a model, and
would it make a perceptible difference? It seems really cool. Does
anyone have pictures?
MICHAEL PHELAN / LONDON
Designer says wingtip-mounted device can perform far better than winglets
A French invention designed to eliminate wingtip vortices could
enable future aircraft designs to benefit from significantly lower
lift-induced drag. French aeronautical teacher Christian Hugues
claims his Minix device - a hollow cylindrical tube attached to an
aircraft's wingtip - could reduce induced drag by 8%, while
increasing lift by 5.4%.
The tube, made of Kevlar and carbon composite, has spiral slits cut
into its length. It works on the principle that the vortices
generated at the wingtip will hit the wing at the same distance
inboard of the tip as the wing's thickness. As the pressure exerted
by the vortex on the wing surface increases, flow escapes through the
slits and is dissipated into a linear flow through the open rear of
Hugues obtained a French patent for his device in May following eight
years of work, and says the design performs far better than
conventional winglets. "While winglets can reduce vortex pressure
around the wingtip, Minix can eliminate the vortex completely," he
Hugues has tested his invention in a windtunnel and predicts an 8%
induced drag reduction for a wing with an aspect ratio of eight at a
Reynolds number of 7.5 x 106. He says the application is adaptable to
all aerofoil shapes and sizes, including propeller and helicopter
blades. More testing is needed to tailor the design to larger wings
and for higher Reynolds number conditions, however.
Hugues says that French aircraft racer Xavier Beck plans to use the
Minix wingtip devices when he competes in the Reno, Nevada, air races
next year, and he hopes to equip an 8m (26ft)-span model of the
Airbus A380 that is due to fly in September. He says that French and
US manufacturers have also expressed interest in using the device.
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