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Supersonic Natural-Laminar-Flow Wing-Design Concept

at High-Reynolds-Number Conditions

Yoshine Ueda
Tokyo Business Service Co. Ltd., Tokyo 160-0023, Japan
Kenji Yoshida
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Tokyo 181-0015, Japan
Kisa Matsushima
University of Toyama, Toyama 930-8555, Japan
Hiroaki Ishikawa
Sankosoft Co. Ltd., Tokyo 169-0075, Japan

This paper describes an effective method to create a new ideal pressure distribution for designing a
three-dimensional natural-laminar-flow wing at high-Reynolds-number conditions to reduce friction drag of a
large-size supersonic transport with 300 passengers. This ideal pressure distribution consists of a useful functional
form with parameters that are adjusted to be widely applicable to general wing planforms. Furthermore, this
research proposes an improvement to the design flow of a conventional computational-fluid-dynamics-based
inverse design method developed previously by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency for a natural-laminar-
flow wing design. An idealized pressure distribution and its validity to achieve approximately 35% laminar flow
region of the wing surface on a cranked arrow type planform are presented at the condition of Mach 2.0 and high
Reynolds number of approximately 126 million based on mean aerodynamic chord. A representative cross-
sectional shape of the designed wing is introduced as an example, and it is shown that a distinguishing feature is
characterized by a smaller curvature near the attachment line. A further ideal pressure distribution for an Ogee-
type planform with swept angle varied continuously in spanwise direction is then created as a test case for more
complicated planforms.

Nomenclature x; y, X; Y = dimensional local chordwise and

An = coefficients of a new ideal Cp distribution spanwise coordinates of wing
for natural-laminar-flow wing design at = boundary-layer thickness
high-Reynolds-number conditions , = nondimensional chordwise and spanwise
CL = lift coefficient coordinates of wing
Cp = pressure coefficient
Cp;attachment = pressure coefficient at attachment line I. Introduction
Cp0 = pressure coefficient at leading edge
dimensional local chord length
base functions of a new ideal Cp distribution
F RICTION drag reduction is one of the most challenging subjects
in the aerodynamic design of aircraft at supersonic speed as well
as subsonic speed. Usually, the pressure drag of a supersonic aircraft
for natural-laminar-flow wing design at is optimized with a slender body and a thin low-aspect-ratio wing,
high-Reynolds-number conditions especially from the viewpoint of wave drag reduction. However, for
M = flight Mach number the realization of a next-generation supersonic transport aircraft
MAC = mean aerodynamic chord (SST), it is well known that there are both economical and environ-
N = integrated amplification rate of instability wave mental issues that the first-generation SST such as the Concorde has
computed by boundary-layer stability equation experienced. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has
ReMAC = Reynolds number based on mean researched and developed several key technologies to overcome
aerodynamic chord these issues since 1997 including some design concepts to reduce
airframe drag, sonic boom, acoustic noise at takeoff and landing, and
structural weight, which are directly linked to both of the previous
issues. In particular, to advance low drag design, it is necessary to
reduce the friction drag of supersonic aircraft, which is not usually
considered. For highly swept wings, however, it is difficult to
maintain the laminar boundary-layer state over the wide wing region
because of the generation of crossflow instabilities near the leading
In the late 1990s, a challenging concept to reduce friction drag at
supersonic speed was created in the United States [1]. The concept
*Researcher, Aircraft Systems Research Group, Institute of Aeronautical consisted of an accelerated chordwise pressure gradient over a wide
Technology; upper surface region of a slightly swept wing with a supersonic

Project Manager, D-SEND Project Team, Institute of Aeronautical
Technology; leading edge to suppress the TollmienSchlichting instability (TSI).

Professor, Mechanical Engineering and Sciences; kisam@eng.u-toyama The concept also included a sharpened leading edge to reduce wave drag and was referred to as the natural-laminar-flow (NLF) wing-

Researcher, Aircraft Systems Research Group, Institute of Aeronautical design concept because of the passive boundary-layer control. The
Technology; effectiveness of this concept was verified in flight tests at supersonic

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Fig. 1 Experimental validation of JAXAs NLF wing-design concept [2,4,5].

speed using a scaled wing model mounted on an F-15 fighter. The compared. The procedure was continued until the difference between
concept has already been patented and is to be adopted for the them reached a convergence tolerance.
SuperSonic Business Jet project planned by Aerion Corporation. The present NLF wing-design concept derived by JAXA was
During the same period an alternative NLF wing-design concept validated in the flight test of a scaled supersonic experimental vehicle
for a highly swept wing with a subsonic leading edge was called NEXST-1 in 2005 (see the right part in Fig. 1 [2,4]). This
independently developed in Japan [2]. The subsonic leading edge configuration was designed by applying representative pressure-drag
usually has a rounded shape to reduce lift-dependent drag by reduction concepts as well as the friction-drag reduction concept of
applying a warped wing-design concept and to improve aerodynamic the NLF wing design. Before the flight test, a wind-tunnel test was
performance by maintaining attached flow due to its drooped leading carried out by JAXA using a 23.3% scaled model. The effectiveness
edge at low speed. This concept consists of an ideal chordwise and of the concept was then qualitatively confirmed by comparing wind-
spanwise pressure distribution for NLF condition on the upper tunnel test results with the transition measurements at an off-design
surface of the highly swept wing. It was derived to suppress the condition (see the left part in Fig. 1 [5]). A qualitative comparison is
crossflow instability (CFI) at the front part of the wing and the TSI aft made because the natural transition process is strongly affected by the
portion, by using a recent transition prediction technique. In this inherent freestream turbulence of a wind tunnel and the precise
derivation, the three-dimensional laminar boundary layer was transition location is difficult to determine.
first computed, and then the relationship between the stability The NEXST-1 concept was 11.5 m in total length, representing an
characteristics and pressure distributions were analyzed in detail 11% scale model of a large-size SST with 300 passengers and was
using a three-dimensional compressible stability equation. Finally, an manufactured through structural design and manufacturing processes
ideal pressure distribution was found for suppression of CFI. The similar to a full-scale aircraft development process. The surface was
shape of an ideal pressure distribution is characterized by a rapid polished to achieve a high-quality surface smoothness. The resulting
acceleration region in less than 2% chord length near the leading edge smoothness was equivalent to the same level as the wind-tunnel test
and almost flat (namely, no pressure gradient) or very gradual model; the average roughness height was less than approximately
acceleration in the remaining area. CFI near the leading edge is 1 m. In the flight test, it was observed that the transition was delayed
suppressed in the former shape of the pressure distribution, while the to approximately 40% chordwise location from the leading edge at a
evolution of the TSI is suppressed in the latter shape. design point (M  2, an altitude of 18 km, design lift coefficient
Following these developments a computational-fluid-dynamics- CL  0.1). This result showed that the supersonic NLF wing-design
based inverse design method was used to design the main wing concept, which was considerably different from the Aerion concept
realizing this ideal pressure coefficient Cp distribution [2]. First, in the United States mentioned previously, was well validated (see the
the flowfield around an initial configuration was analyzed by right part in Fig. 1 [4]). However, the effect of the NLF wing-design
computational fluid dynamics (CFD), and the difference between the concept was significantly reduced at approximately 2.4 times the
CFD-based Cp and the ideal Cp distributions on the wing were Reynolds number than the design point, namely M  2, an altitude of
calculated. To reduce the difference in results, the wing section shape 12.7 km, CL  0.1. Although the mean roughness height was less
was modified by applying a relationship between the variation of Cp than approximately 1 m, its influence on transition was of concern
distribution and the gradient of the wing section shape, which were because the boundary layer becomes thin at a Reynolds number 2.4
based on the supersonic lifting surface theory [3]. Such a modified times higher than the design point. However, because laminar flow
shape is usually made by adding the correction quantity to the was detected by the transition measurement sensors located near the
original shape and performing moderate smoothing of the modified leading edge, we concluded that the roughness had little influence
wing contour as a three-dimensional surface. Furthermore, the on transition. This result appears to show the basic influence of
flowfield around the modified shape was solved again by CFD; the Reynolds number effect on the instability of the boundary layer. As a
CFD-based Cp and the ideal target Cp distributions were then result, this concept was not effective at the high Reynolds numbers
for a full-scale aircraft, and the necessity of further improvement was

Data available online at [retrieved 4 January 2013]. recognized [4].

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This paper describes the subsequent research results on the on such supersonic trailing edge, which experiences no pressure
improvements cited previously. One of the principal results is to recovery at the trailing edge.
propose an ideal Cp distribution, which is very effective for an NLF Thus, it is expected that such an ideal chordwise pressure
wing design at high-Reynolds-number conditions. According to the distribution becomes the so-called step function shape. However, the
NLF wing-design concept developed in the NEXST-1 project, it is pressure distribution cannot be a step function because the leading-
necessary to develop a narrower and steeper acceleration region near edge radius is finite in nature. It is necessary to make the Cp
the leading edge to reduce the amplification rate of crossflow distribution a narrow acceleration region (i.e., linearly accelerated
instability (CFI) at a Reynolds number higher than the NEXST-1 velocity region to a specific chordwise length). During the flight test,
design point. However, because it has a limitation related to finite it was confirmed that such a steep acceleration can be achieved by
leading-edge radius, a new concept is proposed, which puts a slight comparing with measured Cp data at the design point.
sharp deceleration just after that steep acceleration region. In As mentioned previously, analysis of NEXST-1 flight test data
addition, a functional form expressing an ideal Cp distribution is made it clear that the transition due to CFI could not be suppressed at
created [6] to make it easier to apply to a variety of different Reynolds number higher than the design point. The primary cause of
planforms. Then, a systematic method to determine each coefficient such a situation was attributed to the magnitude of the crossflow
of the functional form is proposed [6] by considering the relationship velocity component, which did not change significantly when the
between each coefficient and transition characteristics. Reynolds number increased. However, the instability (amplification
The background and outline for deriving the present ideal Cp rate) of the boundary layer was shown to increase as a solution of the
distribution suitable for an NLF wing design at high Reynolds stability equation [7,8]. Therefore, to understand the Reynolds
number are described in Sec. II. Transition analysis results on its number effect on transition phenomenon, it is necessary to analyze
effectiveness for a representative cranked arrow type planform are the stability characteristics of three-dimensional laminar boundary
also explained in Sec. II. An improved method for the current NLF layers in detail.
wing design is introduced in Sec. III. The cross-sectional shape of the Current authors aim for the establishment of the NLF wing-design
NLF wing designed at high Reynolds number for a large-size SST method to contribute to the friction-drag reduction of the supersonic
with 300 passengers is then introduced and compared with a aircraft; the transition prediction is placed in the core of this method.
conventional shape like the Concorde. Finally, as an example In general, it is difficult to predict a transition point theoretically and
of applying the current NLF wing-design concept to a more quantitatively because the transition is generated by a complicated
representative planform with a swept angle changing continuously in physical mechanism based on the instability wave in the laminar
the spanwise direction, for example an Ogee planform of the boundary layer growing linearly (amplification) and then non-
Concorde, an ideal Cp distribution is presented, which shows the linearly. However, the current eN method, which is based on a linear
NLF wing effect at a high Reynolds number. stability theory [8] with the locally parallel approximation of the
boundary layer, is considered to be a very useful engineering
approach. It can estimate the behavior of the transition point by
II. Ideal Pressure Distribution for Natural Laminar introducing the threshold value (N factor) of transition criteria based
Flow Wing at High Reynolds Number on several comparisons between the experimental data and computed
A. Analysis for Ideal Cp Distribution N factors. Because this method treats three-dimensional boundary
In general, because a pressure gradient in the spanwise direction layers, it is possible to consider TSI and CFI at the same time.
exists in the acceleration region from the attachment line near the Consequently, it is the current authors opinion that this method
leading edge in three-dimensional swept wings, external streamlines is advantageous because it describes the fundamental transition
at the boundary-layer edge are curved toward the wing tip. Moreover, phenomenon of the three-dimensional boundary layers [7]. In
the flow within the boundary layer is more strongly curved because particular, the validity of the eN method, which is used at this time, is
its speed is slower than that at the external streamline position. confirmed by comparison and analysis with the measurement data of
As a result, the velocity component develops in the direction the NEXST-1 flight test [810]. As a result, the current authors
perpendicular to the external streamline; this component is called believe that the eN method was effective for understanding the
crossflow. Because the component becomes zero at a wall and fundamental correlation of the pressure distribution and transition
external streamlines, there is an inflection point in its velocity profile. point of the three-dimensional wing.
It is well known that this condition induces inviscid instability and is The eN method integrates a disturbance amplification factor based
unavoidable in swept wings. Hence, it is of primary importance to on the linear stability theory of the three-dimensional compressible
make the crossflow small near the leading edge. laminar boundary layer in the external streamline direction and
The simplest approach is to avoid pressure gradients along the estimates the N factor. In the case of three-dimensional disturbances,
spanwise direction. However, it is generally difficult to realize such a however, models or assumptions [8,10] are required because there are
condition because three-dimensional swept wings have upwash due unknowns in the stability theory. Two models referred to as envelope
to trailing vortices near wing tips, and as a result, Cp values increase strategy [7] and fixed- strategy [7] were used in the present study.
toward the tip region. Although the crossflow cannot be eliminated, The envelope strategy assumes that only the propagation direction
another approach to control the crossflow, namely to suppress the giving the maximum amplification rate for each frequency at each
growth of the disturbance due to crossflow instability (CFI), is required. chordwise location is chosen, and the transition location is estimated
One possible solution is that the acceleration region near the using the envelope curve of the N factors, which are obtained by
leading edge, which strongly contributes to the growth of the integrating each amplification rate in the chordwise direction.
disturbance due to CFI, is made as short as possible in the chordwise According to the test results in the low-turbulence supersonic wind
direction. According to this concept, JAXA has already created an tunnel by NASA, N  14 was proposed as one of the transition
ideal chordwise pressure distribution for the design of the NEXST-1 judgment criteria in the flight test condition [11]. Moreover, from the
vehicle [2]. This pressure distribution consists of a narrow analysis of the NEXST-1 flight test result, N  12.5 was found to
acceleration region near the leading edge and an almost flat or slightly correspond closely to the measured transition location (Fig. 1 [2,4]).
gradual acceleration region toward the trailing edge. The former is The advantage of the fixed- strategy is that two different states of
effective to suppress the CFI, and the latter is derived to suppress the chordwise growth of the amplification rates by CFI and TSI can be
the TollmienSchlichting instability (TSI). The main wing of a separated. However, the increase of the time for analysis cannot be
conventional supersonic aircraft usually has a subsonic leading avoided. Therefore, it is recognized that the fixed- strategy is an
edge from the viewpoint of wave drag reduction; that is, the leading effective model for clarifying the transition nature than prediction of
edge of the main wing is placed inside the Mach cone. On the other transition location.
hand, the trailing edge is often placed outside the Mach cone, namely Figures 2a and 2b show the N factors computed with both envelope
the supersonic trailing edge, because of the structural design and fixed- strategy at 30% semispanwise station (ys  0.3) and
considerations. The latter shape of the ideal Cp distribution is based three representative flight test conditions [9,10]; only the traveling

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16 16 16
14 14 14

12 12 12

10 10 10

8 8 8

6 6 6

4 4 4

2 2 2

0 0 0
0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0 0.1 0.2 0.3

a) Envelope strategy at y/s = 0.3



0 0.1 0.2 0.3

b) Fixed- strategy at y/s = 0.3

Fig. 2 Stability analysis on NEXST-1 Cp distribution based on the computed traveling crossflow modes for three typical flight test conditions [9,10].

crossflow modes were computed in these cases. In general, the N a threshold at a certain Reynolds number, the transition rapidly shifts
factor computed by the fixed- strategy becomes smaller than that of to a CFI-type condition. Therefore, it seems that the transition
the envelope strategy. In the case of the envelope strategy, the higher location moves sharply up to the region near the leading edge (pattern
N factor is attributed to the maximum amplification factors, which II). The transition location then moves by a small amount nearer to the
are chosen at each location and subsequent integration of those aft of the leading edge (pattern III). The design point ( No:4) in the
factors. In contrast, the fixed- strategy can split TSI and CFI by NEXST-1 was shown to be lower than the Reynolds number
computing only frequencies and wave numbers of disturbances that producing pattern II, although the higher Reynolds number condition
contribute the most to CFI and TSI. These conditions are the design (Re No:5) was larger. Therefore, the essence of NLF wing design at
point (indicated with No:4), an off-design point ( No:2), and high-Reynolds-number conditions is to develop a Reynolds number
a higher-Reynolds-number condition (Re No:5), which is that produces an optimum pattern II [9,10]. As mentioned next, the
approximately 2.4 times the design point. In the comparison of current authors investigated and developed a new Cp distribution for
these N factors computed with the envelope strategy as shown in such an NLF wing design.
Fig. 2a, it was found that the N factor clearly decreased at the design
point ( No:4) compared to the off-design point. Then, from the B. Derivation and Characteristics of New Ideal Cp Distribution
comparison of measured transition location data (indicated with
XT exp) and the N factors computed with the fixed- strategy, it First, one of the most effective ways to suppress CFI growth is to
was considered that the nature of transition measured at the off- narrow the acceleration region near the leading edge as much as
design point ( No:2) and the higher Reynolds number condition
(Re No:5) were CFI as compared with TSI at the design point. It
means that the ideal pressure distribution for the NEXST-1 design
was not always effective. To improve such a situation, the crossflow
region should be shortened because the instability due to CFI
becomes much stronger as Reynolds number increases. However,
from the viewpoint of designing a real wing with finite leading-edge
radius, it is understood that an extremely shortened acceleration
region is not possible.
From the analysis of transition characteristics of the NEXST-1
flight test data, it is thought that Reynolds number behavior on the
transition location of a swept wing with NLF condition, which is
dominated by TSI or CFI, can be schematically summarized as shown
in Fig. 3 [9,10]. When Reynolds number is low, the amplification of
the N factor due to CFI near the leading edge is fully suppressed, and
the N factor is dominated by TSI. Consequently, the transition
location slowly moves forward at the aft part of the wing, as
illustrated in the right figure (pattern I). However, the N factor due to Fig. 3 Reynolds number influence on transition movement for a highly
CFI grows as Reynolds number increases. When the N factor exceeds swept NLF wing [10].

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a) Chordwise pressure distributions

b) Crossflow velocity profiles at y/s=0.3

Fig. 4 Boundary-layer computations on the NEXST-1 flight test conditions [9,10].

possible. Second, the knowledge obtained in a comparison of words, the acceleration region near the leading edge must have as
transition characteristics of the NEXST-1 flight test results at the short a distance as possible, and then a steep deceleration region
angle of attack on the design point and the off-design point is effective with a relatively longer distance should be made after the steep accel-
for developing a further approach. Figures 4a and 4b are comparisons eration region. After that, a much longer and gradual acceleration
of chordwise Cp distributions and crossflow profiles at ys  0.3 at region is necessary until the trailing edge of the wing. Furthermore, a
two conditions, namely the design point ( No:4) and the off-design useful functional form described in the following equation was
point ( No:2) of the NEXST-1 flight test [9,10]. From the viewpoint examined, which was able to express the aforementioned tendency
of computing the laminar boundary layer on a three-dimensional based on a Cp distribution shape for various kinds of planforms
curved surface and external streamlines near the leading edge (Fig. 5 [6]). The final ideal Cp distribution is outlined next; Fig. 6 [6]
precisely, a laminar boundary-layer method was adopted based on the illustrates its outline schematically:
general curvilinear coordinate system described in [12]. From the
figure, it is observed that the crossflow faces the same direction from
the leading edge at approximately 40% chordwise location at the off- Cp ;   An fn ;  where  ;
design point because of the large acceleration region at the front part n0
cy cY
of the wing shown in Fig. 4a. In contrast, the direction of the
y Y
crossflow at the design point reverses immediately near the leading 
edge. From the stability results shown in Fig. 2b, it is found that, even s s
if the crossflow velocity (absolute value) is large near the leading
edge, its absolute value consequently decreases by reversing its where
direction. In this case, the amplification of the N factor due to CFI
can be suppressed at the design point. Therefore, to suppress the f0 ;  1
amplification of the disturbance due to CFI, it is suggested that the
crossflow velocity component must be decreased immediately as the f1 ;  expB1  1
flow goes downstream. To achieve this more effectively, it is
f2 ;  expB2  1
advantageous to change the direction of the crossflow velocity
component to the opposite side rapidly. f3 ;  expB3 P1  1
As a consequence, it was concluded that CFI could be reduced by
changing the direction of the crossflow near the leading edge. In other f4 ;  P2 (1)

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Fig. 5 Examples of configurations applicable to present ideal Cp distribution concept [6].

The definition of each coefficient in Eq. (1) are as follows. A0 is a however, transition analysis must be executed again with the final
Cp level at the leading edge; A1 is a suction peak level near the leading designed configuration, and it is necessary to confirm the transition
edge; A2 is to lower a Cp level by deceleration just after the steep location desired before the design process. A basic approach for the
acceleration near the leading edge; A3 is a Cp level at a representative spanwise variation of each coefficient is summarized next.
chordwise location (e.g., xc  0.05) of the neighborhood of the
leading edge; A4 is a gradient of Cp from that chordwise location to 1. A0
the trailing edge; B1 is a steep acceleration gradient at the leading Because this is a Cp value at the leading edge (not attachment line)
edge; B2 is a deceleration gradient (an adverse pressure gradient) after from the definition in Eq. (1), it is the most effective to use the Cp
the steep acceleration; B3 is a reacceleration gradient after the value computed with a CFD solver on an initial configuration.
deceleration by B2 ; and P1 is a parameter to adjust a starting point of However, the current authors also confirmed that a combination of the
the reacceleration by B3. As the value of P1 becomes small, the following isentropic relation and an empirical factor is approximately
reacceleration point moves toward the leading edge. In contrast, as effective because it was understood that the value of A0  Cp0  does
the value of P1 becomes large, the reacceleration point moves toward not influence transition characteristics greatly:
the trailing edge. P2 is a parameter to determine a gradient of Cp after
reaccelerated by B3. Cp becomes linear with small P2 and curvilinear
with large P2 . Subsequently, it is necessary for these coefficients to be 1
varied in the spanwise direction. A useful approach to establish these Cp;attachment  f1  0.2M2 1 sin2 LE g3.5 1
values is described next.
Transition analysis is necessary after setting the previous Cp0 Cp at xc0  0.86 Cp;attachment :assumption (2)
coefficients as parameters. Cp distribution parameters are then
chosen in order that the transition location is the most delayed at Here, LE is the swept-back angle of the leading edge, and the first
each spanwise station. At this stage, it is necessary to analyze the equation is an isentropic relation on the attachment-line Cp value
three-dimensional laminar boundary layer with high precision. In (indicated by Cp;attachment ). A factor of 0.86 of the second equation is a
particular, three-dimensional wing shape near the leading edge is so-called empirical factor that the current authors obtained from
important and sensitive for transition characteristics. Because a wing experience.
configuration is undetermined at the first stage of a CFD-based
inverse design process, it is often useful to use an initial configuration
2. A1
in the design process as mentioned later. At the end of the process,
In a three-dimensional swept wing, the absolute value of Cp level
averaged over the midchordwise region generally increases (namely,
decreases as pressure) toward the wing tip monotonically. It is also
necessary to maintain such spanwise tendency of the Cp level even at
the NLF wing design from the viewpoint of maintaining its spanwise
loading. Therefore, an averaged chordwise Cp level value (A1 ) is
proposed by the following equation:

1 0.8
A1   Cp;average  Cp;upper ;  d (3)
0.6 0.2

3. A3
As mentioned previously, A3 is a Cp level at a representative
chordwise location near the leading edge. A value of 5% at the
chordwise location is usually chosen; it is then effective to use the Cp
value computed with CFD on the initial configuration.

4. A2 , A4 , B1 , B2 , and B3
These coefficients should be treated as free parameters because
they are characterized as an ideal Cp distribution. In other words,
Fig. 6 Functional expression of new ideal Cp distribution for NLF wing these parameters must be determined by each transition analysis at
design at high-Reynolds-number condition [6]. each spanwise station.

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Table 1 Coefficients of the functional expression on the NEXST-1 NLF wing design
ys A0 A1 A2 A3 A4 B1 B2 B3 P1 P2
0.2 0.181 0.22 0.021 0 0.011 500 100 0 1 1
0.3 0.164 0.22 0.015 0 0.007 500 50 0 1 1
0.4 0.1488 0.22 0.0075 0 0.011 400 80 0 1 1
0.5 0.196 0.26 0.032 0 0.01 700 110 0 1 1
0.6 0.2596 0.26 0.1 0 0.012 900 210 0 1 1
0.7 0.2794 0.301 0.085 0 0.011 1300 200 0 1 1
0.8 0.2873 0.35 0.05 0 0.0085 900 140 0 1 1
0.9 0.283 0.35 0.05 0 0.009 900 140 0 1 1

5. P1 and P2 combination of each coefficient, which was able to delay the transition
As for these coefficients, the current authors found from location estimated using an eN method with envelope strategy, was
experience that it was useful to adopt P1  2.0, P2  1.0 as initial then examined. Next, for several spanwise stations slightly away from
default values. Of course, in a process of constituting various Cp the representative stations on both sides, a separate transition analysis
distributions based on the parameters of A2 , A4 , B1 , B2 , B3 through based on those coefficients at each station was performed. The most
the transition analysis referred to previously, the default values might desirable combination of coefficients was then determined by making
be modified. fine adjustments to the transition location delay.
After repeating this step, the authors finally found a new ideal Cp
6. Further Issues in Determining Each Coefficient distribution with an effective functional expression that could express
In determining each coefficient according to the basic approach the transition performance accurately. The values of each coefficient
referred to previously, the smoothness of both chordwise and are summarized in Table 2, and the new ideal Cp distribution is
spanwise ideal Cp distribution (namely Cp contour) is very important illustrated in Fig. 8 [6]. The values of A0 , A3 , and A4 are constants in
because irregularities of the Cp contour have the possibility of the inner and outer wing regions, but A1 only shows a tendency to
producing irregularities of the wing surface designed with a CFD- vary in the curvilinear spanwise direction. This can be expressed
based inverse method. Therefore, it is important to select approximately using the following equation:

2.04 1.83  0.4952  0.0695  0.2085; 0 < 0.5
A1   (4)
0.91164 2.40143  2.25382 0.8274  0.4427; 0.5 < 1.0

representative spanwise stations for transition analysis coarsely at The results of boundary-layer and transition analysis on the new
first. For example, the NEXST-1 NLF wing is a cranked arrow-type ideal Cp distribution are presented in Figs. 9 and 10. Ideally,
planform where the swept angle of the leading edge changes the boundary-layer and transition characteristics for the latest
discontinuously at ys  0.5 (having a kink in the leading edge). In configuration designed with a CFD-based inverse method should be
that case, the Cp distribution according to the aforementioned analyzed to evaluate the true transition characteristics on the new
approach has changed discontinuously at the kink station, because ideal Cp distribution. As a first step in setting the target Cp
the Cp;attachment changes discontinuously at the station. Therefore, distribution for the NLF wing design, the authors decided to use the
ys  0.3 and 0.7 were initially chosen as two representative NEXST-1 wing configuration as an approximation. This approach
spanwise stations of inner and outer wing regions before a more was chosen because the main purpose of this study was to evaluate the
suitable combination of each coefficient were investigated. The effectiveness of the ideal Cp distribution expressed with the present
appropriate spanwise stations in the right and left sides of the two functional form.
representative stations were then added to investigate the spanwise
tendency of each coefficient in each area. Finally, the spanwise
distribution of each coefficient was interpolated with the least square
approximation technique. A validated example for the NEXST-1
wing is described later.

C. Examination of the Validity of the New Ideal Cp Distribution

As a first step, the authors examined the reproducibility of the
target Cp distribution for the NEXST-1 NLF wing design in its
current functional form. According to the previous method for
determining each coefficient, the most suitable combination of
each coefficient was determined and summarized in Table 1. The
functional form using these coefficients was shown to reproduce the
target pressure distribution accurately, as shown in Fig. 7, particularly
at the steep acceleration near the leading.
An attempt was then made to create an ideal Cp distribution for the
NEXST-1 wing planform (see the planform shown in Fig. 5) at high
Reynolds number (ReMAC 126 million where MAC 25 m)
corresponding to a large-size SST assumed. According to the basic
method to determine each coefficient, ys  0.3 and 0.7 were first Fig. 7 Comparison of the current functional expression and the target
chosen as two representative spanwise stations. An effective Cp distribution of the NEXST-1 NLF wing.

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Table 2 Optimum combination of coefficients for new ideal Cp distribution

ys A0 A1 A2 A3 A4 B1 B2 B3 P1 P2
0.15 0.167394 0.225 0.015 0.02 0.005 90000 1500 20 2 1
0.20 0.167394 0.231 0.015 0.02 0.005 90000 1500 20 2 1
0.30 0.167394 0.2415 0.015 0.02 0.005 90000 1500 20 2 1
0.40 0.167394 0.2515 0.015 0.02 0.005 90000 1500 20 2 1
0.50 0.167394 0.267 0.015 0.02 0.005 90000 1500 20 2 1
0.51 0.250316 0.35 0.015 0.01 0 90000 500 10 2 1
0.60 0.250316 0.366 0.015 0.01 0 90000 500 5 2 1
0.70 0.250316 0.3686 0.015 0.01 0 90000 500 5 2 1
0.80 0.250316 0.376 0.015 0.01 0 90000 500 5 2 1
0.90 0.250316 0.3777 0.015 0.01 0 90000 500 10 2 1

Figure 9 shows the crossflow velocity profiles computed at situation, then the transition may be delayed. This means that the
ys  0.3. The new ideal Cp distribution shows that the crossflow transition N values may be larger than 14. For example, if the N value
velocity changes near the leading edge immediately in the positive is assumed to be 16, then CFI is suppressed, and TSI becomes
side (outer wing direction) from the negative side (inner wing dominant as seen in Fig. 10b. The new ideal Cp distribution is shown
direction). Further, the absolute value of crossflow velocity is to be highly effective at suppressing CFI (Fig. 10).
constrained to small values up to xc0.3, with a slightly larger The transition location predicted across the entire upper surface,
crossflow velocity afterward. This result is attributed to the fact that based on the new ideal Cp distribution, is summarized in Fig. 11 [6].
the gradual acceleration gradient to the trailing edge following the The transition criterion is used for both N  14 and 12.5. In the case
immediate deceleration region near the leading edge is stronger than of N  14, the transition is predicted to be located at approximately
the target Cp distribution for the NEXST-1 NLF wing design. 35% chordwise location at ys  0.3 and 70% chordwise location at
Figures 10a and 10b show the N factors at ys  0.3 computed ys  0.7. As for the laminar flow rate, approximately 45% of the
with envelope and fixed- strategies, respectively; only the traveling upper surface area is estimated to be laminar flow. Consequently, it is
crossflow modes were computed in these cases. NASA [11] first shown that the present functional form, combined with the most
proposed an N factor of N  14 computed with the envelope suitable coefficients described in Table 2, make a significant
strategy, corresponding to a transition in flight environment; an improvement at high Reynolds number, corresponding to a full-scale
approximate N factor of N  12.5 was found in comparison with the SST, in comparison with previous conventional NLF wing-design
NEXST-1 transition measurement data [2,4]. In the case of both concepts (e.g., NEXST-1).
N  14 and 12.5, it is assumed that the predicted transition is
dominated by CFI based on the fixed- strategy result. The authors
expected the transition might develop into TSI at high Reynolds III. Natural Laminar Flow Wing-Design Procedure
number (ReMAC 126 million at MAC 25 m) by using the A. Refinement of CFD-Based Inverse Design Procedure
new ideal Cp distribution as illustrated in Fig. 3, although this A CFD-based inverse design method is also used for the design of
Cp distribution made CFI dominant. A large transition delay an NLF wing at high-Reynolds-number conditions, due to its
(approximately 33% chordwise location based on N  14) was similarity to the NEXST-1 airplane. Initially, the new ideal Cp
estimated in comparison with the authors previous result distribution shape, which consists of the functional form defined in
(approximately 2% location), described in [13]. Eq. (1), is applied to the upper surface of the wing; this is necessary to
As expected, the transition behavior due to CFI is strongly specify the target Cp distribution for the NLF wing design. A Cp
dependent on the transition criterion of N  14. It is not clear, distribution is then adopted for the lower surface, similar to the
however, whether N  14 is valid in such a high-Reynolds-number NEXST-1 design. This is derived by considering an optimum load
condition. The threshold of transition N factor may be lower than 14 distribution (namely, Cp  Cp;lower Cp;upper ) based on a warped
because the transition is easily induced by the much stronger wing design to reduce lift-dependent drag. Because the target Cp
influence of the surface roughness condition at a high-Reynolds- distribution for the NLF wing design at high-Reynolds-number
number condition than at a low-Reynolds-number condition. conditions always has a very steep acceleration near the leading edge
Alternatively, it is possible that the viscous instability (i.e., TSI) is followed by a steep deceleration as previously shown, it seems to be
suppressed at a higher-Reynolds-number condition. If the influence difficult to design the NLF wing with a finite leading-edge radius to
of surface roughness condition is suppressed sufficiently in this realize a new target Cp distribution completely using a conventional

Fig. 8 New ideal Cp distribution for the NLF wing design at high-Reynolds-number condition [6].

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Crossflow velocity profiles on target Cp @y/s =0.3

0.9 x/c=0.001
0.7 x/c=0.1
0.6 x/c=0.2

0.4 x/c=0.4



0.01 0.005 0 0.005 0.01
V/Ue Fig. 11 Transition analysis on the new ideal Cp distribution at high-
Fig. 9 Crossflow velocity profiles computed on the new ideal Cp Reynolds-number condition [6].
distribution at high-Reynolds-number condition.

advancing the design cycle up to several steps from an initial

configuration. The design cycle should then be continued until the
desired transition characteristics are obtained.
In this design process, each configuration at each design cycle is
used for the computation of the boundary layer. Therefore, it is the
authors belief that such an improvement to the inverse design
procedure can supplement the validity for adopting the ideal Cp
distribution based on the present functional form as a target Cp
distribution for the NLF wing design. Furthermore, a parameter
adjustment routine to create the ideal Cp distribution is incorporated
in the uppermost stream of the overall design flow of the inverse
design procedure. The proposed design flow is summarized in the
upper portion of Fig. 12 [6].

B. Example of the Proposed CFD-Based Inverse Design Procedure

At present, JAXA has not yet designed a complete three-
dimensional NLF wing using the new CFD-based inverse design
procedure and the new ideal Cp distribution described previously.
The procedure based on a linear theory (i.e., lifting surface theory)
and used in the NEXST-1 NLF wing design is not sufficiently
accurate when modifying the curvature near the leading edge because
of the steep acceleration and immediate steep deceleration regions.
An improvement to this situation is currently under investigation by
JAXA. However, JAXA has derived airfoil shapes at several
spanwise stations for the previous target Cp distribution, which is
almost flat toward the trailing edge after a slight sharp deceleration
region near the leading edge, at high Reynolds number. This target Cp
distribution was created with the functional form of Eq. (1). The
combination of each coefficient is summarized in Table 3, and the
previous target Cp distribution at ys  0.3 is shown in Fig. 13.
JAXA has already determined that the transition analysis results on
this Cp distribution predict an approximate laminar flow value of
30% on the upper surface area using a transition criterion of N  14
at the same high-Reynolds-number condition (ReMAC 126 million
at MAC 25 m) and based on the condition in Fig. 11 (which
approximately showed the 35% laminar flow region mentioned
previously). The most delayed transition position was then predicted
at the spanwise station of ys  0.4, and its chordwise location was
estimated to be approximately 40% of chord length.
A representative airfoil cross-sectional shape at ys  0.4 for the
designed NLF wing is denoted in Fig. 14a with a thick solid line;
Fig. 10 Transition analysis on the new ideal Cp distribution at high-
NEXST-1 and Concorde-like configurations are included in this
Reynolds-number condition based on the computed traveling crossflow
modes. figure for comparison. The NEXST-1 airfoil shape, which was
designed at approximately 1/10th of the present Reynolds number,
achieved laminar flow in approximately 40% of the flow region
CFD-based inverse design method. Therefore, at such a high- during the flight test [4]. The Concorde-like configuration presented
Reynolds-number condition, the present target Cp distribution in Fig. 14a was originally designed by JAXA based on a well-known
should not be recognized as the goal to be converged at the iterative technical document [14] and public information (see Fig. 5).
process of the inverse design technique. It is more realistic to consider Although no NLF wing-design concept was applied on the latter
it as a guideline for advancing the iterative process. This means that a airfoil shape, a warped wing concept with both conical camber and
transition analysis should be carried out at every iterative step after chordwise thickness distribution (NACA 64A003) was applied. The

This document is provided by JAXA.


Fig. 13 Previous target Cp distribution for the NLF wing design at high-
Reynolds-number condition.





Fig. 12 New CFD-based inverse design method for the NLF wing design
at high-Reynolds-number conditions [6].
0.0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9
curvature distributions near the leading edge are highlighted in a) Typical airfoil of the designed NLF wing
Fig. 14b for each airfoil.
The airfoil of the Concorde-like configuration is shown to have a
very large curvature at the attachment line (sc  0.0), but this
curvature decreases sharply in both upstream and downstream 3000
directions. In the case of the NEXST-1 NLF airfoil, the curvature at
the attachment line is slightly lower; the steep decrease of the 3500
curvature in the upstream and downstream directions is almost equal
to that of the Concorde-like configuration. The airfoil of the three-
Curvature (1/r)

dimensional NLF wing designed at high Reynolds number is shown
to have a much lower curvature at the attachment line than that of the 1500
NEXST-1; in this case, the curvature decreases to less than one-third
of the Concorde-like configuration. This value is maintained along 1000
the chordwise length for more than approximately 0.1% chord length
in the upstream and downstream directions from the attachment line. 500
It then decreases sharply aftward to less than 1/10th of the value at the
attachment line. The sudden decrease from the constant curvature 0
-0.004 -0.003 -0.002 -0.001 0.0 0.001 0.002 0.003 0.004 0.005 0.006
region of approximately 0.1% chord length produces a sharp
acceleration near the leading edge characterized by the Cp
distribution derived at high Reynolds number. It is well-known that b) Curvature distributions near the leading edge of the designed
Cp distributions have a strong correlation with the second derivative NLF wing
of the configuration and that such curvature distributions influence Fig. 14 NLF wing results designed with the inverse design method at
the character of the NLF wing design. high-Reynolds-number condition.
In the case of a leading edge with a small curvature (i.e., large
radius), the risk of attachment line contamination is a concern; this
risk was investigated by using Polls criterion [15]. In general, although the velocity distribution near the attachment line on the
cross-sectional plane normal to the leading edge is necessary to
estimate so-called Polls index R , it is not easy to predict the velocity
Table 3 Previous target Cp distribution for the NLF wing design distribution accurately. The current approach uses a cylindrical
approximation according to the method described in [16]. The result
ys A0 A1 A2 A3 A4 B1 B2 B3 P1 P2
shown in Fig. 14 was found at Mach 2.0 and a flight altitude of 18 km.
0.3 0.164 0.247 0.016 0 0.001 2000 25 0 1 1 Because the NEXST-1 wing had a swept angle of 66 deg and a
0.5 0.196 0.305 0.016 0 0.001 2000 24 0 1 1
0.7 0.2794 0.4 0.016 0 0.001 2000 23 0 1 1
cylinder with an approximate radius of 2.2 mm, R 131 was
0.9 0.283 0.413 0.016 0 0.001 2000 23 0 1 1 assumed. In this case, no attachment line contamination was
identified because Polls criterion value was less than 245. The flight

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y/s=0.3 y/s=0.5
-0.1 -0.1

0.0 0.0

Target Cp
0.1 Target Cp 0.1
Initial Cp Cp
0.2 0.2
0.0 0.02 0.04 0.06 0.08 0.0 0.02 0.04 0.06 0.08
x/c x/c

y/s=0.7 y/s=0.9
-0.1 -0.1

0.0 0.0
Target Cp
0.1 Target Cp 0.1 Initial CpCp

0.2 0.2
0.0 0.02 0.04 0.06 0.08 0.0 0.02 0.04 0.06 0.08
x/c x/c
Fig. 15 Comparison of an ideal and initial chordwise Cp distributions based on the Ogee planform.

test confirmed these results as no transition occurred near the the CFD-based inverse design method based on the lifting surface
attachment line [2]. It should be noted that the radius of the NLF wing theory for geometry modification needs further improvement. The
designed at high Reynolds number increases to approximately 3 design cycle for the configuration illustrated in Fig. 12 was then
times that of the NEXST-1, as shown in Fig. 14b. Because Polls stopped because the new ideal Cp distribution based on the present
index is proportional to the root of the radius based on a cylindrical functional form was created. The improvement of the inverse design
approximation, R 230 was easily estimated for the NLF wing. procedure was considered as mentioned previously. JAXA has
This implies that there is no attachment line contamination because recently worked on designing a new three-dimensional NLF wing
the value is less than Polls criterion value. However, because this using the new ideal Cp distribution and design flow.
value is close to the criterion, it is recognized that techniques are
needed to suppress it. For example, a small spanwise bump with a C. Further Study for an Ideal Cp Distribution in Practical Applica-
curvature constraint used during the inverse design process is tion
necessary to realize the NLF wing effect at high Reynolds number. In a further study, the ideal Cp distribution mentioned previously
The convergence of the Cp distribution in this inverse design was derived for a cranked-arrow-type planform with two different
process was found to be insufficient. It is generally recognized that swept angles. However, to apply an ideal Cp distribution shape with a

Table 4 Coefficients for an ideal Cp distribution based on the Ogee planform

ys A0 A1 A2 A3 A4 B1 B2 B3 P1 P2
0.15 0.05160 0.115 0.010 0.025 0.025 90000 1000 20 2 1
0.20 0.05474 0.125 0.012 0.020 0.023 90000 1100 19 2 1
0.30 0.10607 0.185 0.015 0.016 0.020 90000 1500 19 2 1
0.40 0.15347 0.245 0.015 0.015 0.015 90000 2500 18 2 1
0.50 0.23991 0.340 0.015 0.010 0.006 90000 3000 17 2 1
0.60 0.38999 0.495 0.015 0 0.004 90000 3300 0 2 1
0.70 0.44564 0.555 0.016 0 0 90000 3800 0 2 1
0.80 0.41360 0.520 0.017 0 0 90000 4200 0 2 1
0.90 0.302151 0.400 0.018 0 0 90000 4600 0 2 1
0.99 0.06444 0.130 0.019 0 0 90000 5000 0 2 1

Fig. 16 Spanwise distributions for each coefficient based on an ideal Cp distribution and Ogee planform.

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analysis based on the current eN method. In general, a CFD-based

inverse design method is very effective in achieving an NLF wing
with an ideal pressure distribution at a high-Reynolds-number
condition. The present research improves upon an earlier design
flow applied in the development of the NEXST-1 vehicle. A cross-
sectional shape (airfoil) of the NLF wing on a cranked arrow
planform has been established. This planform, introduced as a design
example, was achieved using a CFD-based inverse design method at a
Reynolds number 10 times higher than that of the NEXST-1 flight test
condition. The results provide further understanding of the NLF
airfoil behavior at high Reynolds number.

Fig. 17 Estimated transition location on an ideal Cp distribution for Although the main part of this study is based on the patent
NLF wing design based on the Ogee planform. applications for Japan, the United States, France, the United
Kingdom, and Russia, it is very effective and helpful for the authors to
refer to the principal results obtained in the JAXAONERA joint
functional form in NLF wing design for future aircraft, it is desirable research activity from 2009 to 2012 to deepen aerodynamic
to develop a more general wing planform with nonuniform swept consideration for present NLF wing-design subject, in particular,
angle similar to the Ogee planform of Concorde. JAXA has already discussion of Reynolds number effect. The authors would like to
investigated such an extension. A summary of the results based on a express special thanks to Daniel Arnal and Olivier Vermeersch of
Concorde-like configuration at the same Reynolds number condition ONERAThe French Aerospace Lab for performing this joint
as the flight of the real Concorde is presented next. research activity.
The cross-sectional shape of the wing of the Concorde-like
configuration was designed by using a warped wing concept with
conical camber type at the design condition of lift coefficient CL 
0.1 at M  2. According to the design flow of Fig. 12, first, each References
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