Wish you could keep the bug splatter off of the front of your car? The airlines have a similar desire. To that end, over the next several weeks NASA researchers will be testing non-stick wing coatings which will hopefully reduce bug splatter (insect residue) on the wings of aircraft.
The reason has nothing to do with aesthetics, but rather efficiency. Keeping aircraft wings clean and smooth helps reduce fuel consumption by eliminating drag on the airplane.
“Studies have shown that keeping the flow smooth, or laminar, over a wing can reduce fuel consumption as much as six percent. Even something as small as a bug on a leading edge can cause turbulent wedges that interrupt laminar flow, resulting in an increase in drag and fuel use.”
To aid in the research NASA will be using the Boeing ecoDemonstrator 757 flight test jet which flew into the Shreveport Regional Airport after flying from Seattle last week.
From now through May 15 NASA planes for 15 test flights to see how well five different coatings prevent insect remains from sticking to the leading edge of the 757’s right wing.
Several non-stick coatings, which have undergone wind tunnel testing, were developed by engineers at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.
According to Boeing, the ecoDemonstrator Program plays a key role in the company’s environmental strategy by testing and accelerating new technologies that can reduce fuel use, carbon emissions and noise.
For more information about ecoDemonstrator 757 tests visit: http://go.nasa.gov/1GAf7rv