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Eidetics Awarded NASA Dryden SBIR Phase II Contract for Enhanced NLF Air Foil Pressure Recovery with Boundary Layer Mixing Devices Program


January 6, 2000 - NASA announced today that Eidetics Corporation in Torrance, CA has been awarded a $600,000 Small Business Innovative Research Phase II Contract from NASA Dryden Flight Research Center. The research titled "Enhanced NLF Airfoil Pressure Recovery with Boundary Layer Mixing Devices" will be conducted over the next two years. “The goal of the research is to improve the performance of aircraft capable of very high altitude flight which are desirable for atmospheric research and for military reconnaissance,” said Brian Kramer, Eidetics Vice President of Engineering. “Vehicles envisioned to cruise at altitudes from 70,000 to 100,000 feet must be designed with state-of-the-art structures, propulsion and aerodynamics in order to carry any meaningful payload for a significant loiter period,” Kramer stated. Because of the low Reynolds numbers inherent in flying at such high altitudes, recent aircraft designs have taken advantage of natural laminar flow (NLF) airfoils to reduce skin friction drag. The extent of NLF is limited by the need to recover the pressure by the trailing edge. Eidetics Corporation has proposed that the advantages of NLF airfoils can be enhanced by including in the original design a miniature Boundary Layer Mixing Device (BLMD) system that allows airfoils to be designed with a much more aggressive pressure recovery profile. The advantage of such a design is an increase in the percentage of laminar flow, while at the same time increasing the design lift coefficient. This combined increase in lift to drag ratio (L/D), and widening of the laminar drag bucket, will increase the performance of high altitude vehicles and can help to reduce the vehicle size, and hence the cost, required to carry a fixed weight payload.


The Phase I research program, completed in June of 1999, demonstrated the theory and explored several candidate configurations during a low speed wind tunnel test. The results were extremely promising. The Phase II research will begin with a computational study and design of a new NLF airfoil taking advantage of BLMDs. The design will be validated and refined during wind tunnel tests at the University of Illinois. The result will be not only a new class of highly efficient airfoils, but also a computer tool that will allow the design of custom airfoils that take advantage of this technology.


NASA stated that technical SBIR research, such as Eidetics, will assist NASA missions by providing advanced technologies. NASA went on to state that selection criteria for phase two awards include: “scientific and technical merit, future importance and eventual value of the innovation to NASA, company capabilities and commercial potential.”


Eidetics Corporation, under new ownership, is a minority owned small high-tech aerospace company. Founded in 1982, Eidetics continues to concentrate on advanced aeronautical research, specialized technology development, and engineering services. In addition, Eidetics has leveraged its aerodynamic expertise, research and software development into high fidelity networked aircraft simulators and reconfigurable avionics integration test software systems.



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