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Vortex Control for Low-Noise DEP Urban Aircraft

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: 80NSSC19C0540
Agency Tracking Number: 193721
Amount: $124,996.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: T15
Solicitation Number: STTR_19_P1
Timeline
Solicitation Year: 2019
Award Year: 2019
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2019-08-19
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2020-09-18
Small Business Information
8722 Northwest 9th Place
Gainesville, FL 32606-7156
United States
DUNS: 847987448
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 William Lear
 (352) 672-2763
 lear@surfplasma.com
Business Contact
 Helen Roberson
Phone: (228) 813-6680
Email: helen.m.roberson@nasa.gov
Research Institution
 University of Florida
 
201 Criser Hall PO Box 114000
Gainesville, FL 00000-0000
United States

 Federally funded R&D center (FFRDC)
Abstract

Suppression of noise from aircraft is a vital NASA goal, especially important for the vision of Urban Air Mobility. Small urban aircraft may utilize Distributed Electric Propulsion along with advanced structural and electric motor/storage technologies to achieve the necessary flight capability. However, these aircraft utilize propellers or fans to achieve the necessary thrust, with attendant community noise issues. We propose to suppress perceived noise, especially during takeoff and landing in urban areas, by limiting the formation of vortical structures near the propulsor tips and trailing edges.nbsp;Tip vortices are common for airfoils, best illustrated by aircraft wings. The pressure difference between top and bottom creates a secondary flow, with a resulting vortex that increases noise and reduces lift. Winglets are effective in countering this effect. However, rotating airfoils ndash; propellers and fans ndash; cannot utilize winglets. Instead we propose to limit the secondary flow and tip vortex by utilizing thin, surface-mounted plasma actuators placed near the rotating blade tip.nbsp;SurfPlasma Inc. is a world leader in plasma actuator technology, having developed boundary layer control devices for many applications, including technology effective in the control of high speed air flows, relevant to aircraft propulsors even at low vehicle speeds. Also demonstrated is a technique for providing the required voltage to rotating systems. The overall objective of the current project is to demonstrate feasibility of plasma actuator-based flow control in rotating systems in order to achieve significant suppression of rotor-induced noise, without loss of thrust.nbsp;Development of this technology will benefit society by helping to enable more efficient intra-city personal transportation, with low infrastructure impact. Noise suppression technology would enhance acceptance of UAM vehicles and increase livability in urban areas and eventually impact larger aircraft and terrestrial fans.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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