NASA tests airplane wings that shrug off insect guts

The Boeing ecoDemonstrator 757 on the tarmac

You may not think of insects as a problem for aircraft (Bambi Meets Godzilla comes to mind), but they really are — the residue from those splattered bugs slows aircraft down and hikes fuel consumption. NASA may soon have a way to keep those critters from causing so much trouble, however. It recently conducted flight testing for a promised non-stick wing coating that stops ex-bugs from inducing drag. The layer, which combines a lotus leaf-inspired (“microscopically-rough”) repellant surface with anti-sticking chemicals, was good enough to cut back on the nasty organic residue by as much as 40 percent.

The real-world results support what researchers predicted in the lab, and they suggest that you could both improve the fuel use for existing aircraft and design smaller, more efficient flying machines. You could get away with a 17 percent tinier tail on an airliner like the trial run’s Boeing 757, for a start. Although it’ll take a while before you see these augmented wings at the local airport, they could eventually do a lot to help the environment… and save ground crews from rather disgusting clean-up jobs.

[Image credit: NASA Langley/Paul Bagby]

Filed under: ,

Comments

Source: NASA

Source: Engadget - Read the full article here

Author: Daily Tech Whip

This article is part of our 'News Tiles' service. The site is currently in Beta. When it is fully operational you will be able to search through and arrange the 'Tiles' to display a keyword, product or technology over your chosen time period. For example you would be able to display all of the leading tech articles on the new Kindle Fire, in one spot in real time. You will also have access to our own original reporting and analysis as well as a polished place to post your own thoughts & reviews here, amongst the Daily Tech Whip Community. Please let us know if you have any feedback via the contact form or via Twitter. Don't forget to come back next week and see our full site and claim your name and your own free tech blog.

Share This Post On