Radar Energy Absorbing Deformable Low Drag Vortex Generator
This invention relates to a class of devices, the Radar Energy Absorbing Low Draw Vortex Generator (RAD-LDVG), which produce vortices over external or internal aerodynamic and/or hydrodynamic surfaces.
Vortex generators (VGs) are used to increase maximum lift coefficients, and/or reattach flows, which would separate, and/or smooth unstable flows over lifting services, stabilizers, high lift devices or flight control mechanisms. They currently come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but have two major problems: (1) the inability to conform to curved surfaces; and (2) the generation of radar cross-section spikes produced by the VGs themselves. Researchers at the University of Kansas have developed a class of devices that simultaneously solve these two problems.
This technology can be utilized in aircrafts of all types, and is particularly well-suited for combat aircraft.
How it works:
This technology employs flexible radar energy absorbing materials, and specialized radar energy absorbing internal structural arrangements. The enhanced flexibility allows the RAD-LDVGs to conform to aircraft surfaces whether they are flat or imperfect, and over features such as joints, screws, or rivet heads. By installing them over the top of such surface details, the RAD-LDVGs mask the radar cross-section increments induced by those details.
The RAD-LDVG: (1) will generate higher boundary layer energization increments than other vortex generators for the same amount of drag; (2) is deformable and therefore can conform to any aerodynamic surfaces, unlike the rigid predecessors; and (3) can be made of radar-absorbing materials, which allow it to return next to no radar echoes and be used to mast structural details that typically have high return echoes. The flexibility of the RAD-LDVGs allow for easier installation as they can be shaped to the surface curvature during installation. This reduces the need for specialized machining, adapter rails, or adapter blocks. In addition, the flexibility will allow the RAD-LDVGs to conform to varying pressure and flight speeds, which will increase its effectiveness and result in safer overall flight operations.
Why it is better:
The RAD-LDVGs improve upon existing VG design to provide a flexible, radar absorbing material, which is easier to install and the ability to conform to flight conditions. The new technology is more cost-effective, and will increase overall flight performance.