German Aerospace Center Uses ATOS for Researching Fuel-Efficient Technologies

09/2016In order to make aircrafts more energy-efficient and eco-friendly, DLR (German Aerospace Center) uses GOM’s ATOS Triple Scan system at its site in Braunschweig. The measuring system makes it possible to research the impact of surface geometries on the flow resistance.

For optimizing the aerodynamics of aircrafts, the German Aerospace Center uses an airbus A320 as a flexible experimental platform. The research aircraft serves for measurements carried out with GOM’s optical 3D scanner in order to develop energy-efficient and eco-friendly technologies. In this context, DLR is particularly focused on the optimization of components.

What is essential for developing improved components is to optimize the geometry by producing as little flow resistance during flight as possible. To minimize the resistance, and thus the fuel consumption, surface geometries need to foster laminar flow. This can be achieved with smooth and homogeneous surfaces. Therefore, it is inevitable that DLR’s researchers exactly know the components’ surface. Thanks to ATOS Triple Scan, the research center is able to measure the geometries of surfaces fast and precisely, and to gain all relevant information on the surface geometry. A high-resolution and full-field representation of the tailplane with an area of 1.5 m x 3 m was made available by the ATOS measuring system in less than 15 minutes.

The full-field 3D representation of the tailplane served as a basis for further test series, in which the geometry was modified iteratively. After the flight tests, which have shown a positive effect of the geometry change, the 3D scanner was used once again to measure the tailplane including the modifications. As a result, the researchers also obtained measured values of the geometry changes and thus could directly compare them with the initial information.

In the future, the knowledge gained on the effect of geometry changes made on the tailplane is supposed to be applied on the wings and fuselage to optimize the performance of aircrafts and make flights more fuel-efficient.

The complete application example is available in English as PDF.