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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/T020946/1
Title: [EnAble]: Developing and Exploiting Intelligent Approaches for Turbulent Drag Reduction
Principal Investigator: Whalley, Dr R
Other Investigators:
Wilson, Dr K J Guan, Dr Y
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Airbus Operations Limited
Department: Sch of Engineering
Organisation: Newcastle University
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 March 2021 Ends: 16 January 2025 Value (£): 627,076
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Aerospace, Defence and Marine Transport Systems and Vehicles
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
03 Dec 2019 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 3 and 4 December 2019 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Whenever air flows over a commercial aircraft or a high-speed train, a thin layer of turbulence is generated close to the surface of the vehicle. This region of so-called wall-turbulence generates a resistive force known as skin-friction drag which is responsible for more than half of the vehicle's energy consumption. Taming the turbulence in this region reduces the skin-friction drag force, which in turn reduces the vehicle's energy consumption and thereby reduces transport emissions, leading to economic savings and wider health and environmental benefits through improved air quality. To place this into context, just a 3% reduction in the turbulent skin-friction drag force experienced by a single long-range commercial aircraft would save £1.2M in jet fuel per aircraft per year and prevent the annual release of 3,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. There are currently around 23,600 aircraft in active service around the world. Active wall-turbulence control is seen as a key upstream technology currently at very low technology readiness level that has the potential to deliver a step change in vehicle performance. Yet despite this significance and well over 50 years of research, the complexity of wall-turbulence has prevented the realisation of any functional and economical fluid-flow control strategies which can reduce the turbulent skin-friction drag forces of industrial air flows of interest.

The EnAble project aims to develop, implement and exploit machine intelligence paradigms to enable a new approach to wall-turbulence control. This new form of intelligent fluid-flow control will be used to develop practical wall-turbulence control strategies that can rapidly and autonomously optimise the aerodynamic surface with minimal power input whilst being adaptive to changes in flow speed. This new capability will open up the opportunity to discover new ways to tame wall-turbulence and exploit the latest drag reduction mechanisms to generate significant levels of turbulent skin-friction drag reduction.

Key Findings
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.ncl.ac.uk