SLIPPS Flow Control Actuator for Aerodynamic Drag Reduction

Tech ID: 16-034

Inventors: Thomas Corke, Flint Thomas

Date Added: September 25, 2020


A practical, power efficient drag reduction device for air vehicles

Technology Summary

Fuel costs associated with aircraft operations have been the largest single cost. Improved fuel efficiency has long been a goal for both government and industrial purposes, domestically and internationally. The aviation industry has contributed significantly to the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere. Government regulators and industries are striving to reduce these emissions; however, this requires significant technology changes. An effective drag-reducing technique has proven to reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

Researchers at the University of Notre Dame have designed a novel drag reduction actuator called “Smart Longitudinal Instability Prevention via Plasma Surface” (SLIPPS) consisting of a new pulsed-DC plasma actuator. It is known that streamwise vorticity controls near-wall turbulence production and skin friction drag, so efforts to intervene with streamwise vortex formation will cause drag reduction. However, Notre Dame proposed a method of active intervention in streak transient growth instability (STGI) mechanism which has proven to be the dominant streamwise vortex generation mechanism. The technology achieves an unprecedented skin friction drag reduction of up to 69%. It also demonstrates significant net power savings while requiring less input power to the actuator.

Market Advantages

  • More efficient air vehicles:
    • Longer ranges
    • Heavier payloads
    • Reduced fuel costs and consumption
    • Reduced emissions


Aviation Industry

Technology Readiness Level

TRL 4 - Lab Validation

Intellectual Property Status

US Patent 10,527,074

US Patent 9,848,485


Richard Cox