Active flow control systems architectures for civil transport aircraft

Stephen Liddle, M. Jabbal, S. C. Liddle, W. J. Crowther

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper considers the effect of choice of actuator technology and associated power systems architecture on the mass cost and power consumption of implementing active flow control systems on civil transport aircraft. The research method is based on the use of a mass model that includes a mass due to systems hardware and a mass due to the system energy usage. An Airbus A320 aircraft wing is used as a case-study application. The mass model parameters are based on first-principle physical analysis of electric and pneumatic power systems combined with empirical data on system hardware from existing equipment suppliers. Flow control methods include direct fluidic, electromechanical- fluidic, and electrofluidic actuator technologies. The mass cost of electrical power distribution is shown to be considerably less than that for pneumatic systems; however, this advantage is reduced by the requirement for relatively heavy electrical power management and conversion systems. A tradeoff exists between system power efficiency and the system hardware mass required to achieve this efficiency. For short-duration operation the flow control solution is driven toward lighter but less power-efficient systems, whereas for longduration operation there is benefit in considering heavier but more efficient systems. It is estimated that a practical electromechanical-fluidic system for flow separation control may have a mass up to 40% of the slat mass for a leading-edge application and 5% of flap mass for a trailing-edge application. Copyright © 2010.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1966-1981
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Aircraft
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010


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