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Studies in Laminar Flow
- Type: SPH
- Class: aircraft
- Part Count: 84
- Pure Stock
Northrop’s X-21 was designed to explore the flow of air over wings. Normal flow follows a smooth, linear path across the wing surface (Laminar), but then breaks from that flow pattern and moves into a state of turbulence. This turbulence creates a large amount of drag, an the X-21 program sought to reduce this drag by extending the area of laminar flow, thus also reducing fuel consumption.
Built in the SPH in KSP version 1.3.0.
To retain continuous laminar flow across the surface of the X-21’s wing, there were several slats cut into the wing parallel to the flow of air across it. Air was drawn in through these slats, compressed, and then projected out of the back of the wing to push the zone of turbulence further away from the leading edge of the wing and fuselage of the plane. The system was unreliable, as it tended to become clogged when dust particles found their way in, inevitably. Nevertheless, unprecedented data regarding Flow contamination (suspended particles affecting lift generation), Span-wise turbulence on the ‘boundary layer’ of airflow, and surface irregularities.
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