Thursday, 12 Apr, 2012 Technology

Double-Bubble - Revolutionary Fuel-Efficient Airplane Could Be Ready by 2035


A team from MIT came up with a concept aircraft that is meant to carry out extremely efficient passenger flights. NASA hopes that such aircrafts will make a revolution in the commercial air industry.

It is worth mentioning that NASA has been involved in helping different companies and institutions create the airplane of the future, by funding projects and more.

This project is entitled the "Double-Bubble," and it makes use of different features that considerably increase the level of fuel efficiency. Due to the fact that the aircraft has a wide fuselage, it can use a lighter, thinner, and lower sweep wing. In addition, such fuselage allows the jet to carry load comparable to two passenger cabins. This is the reason why the airplane was called Double-Bubble, i.e. the fuel per passenger is considerably decreased too.

By installing the engines back by the tails, makes it possible to operate them at higher efficiency level. At the same time this decreases drag on the airplane by emitting exhaust out into the wake turbulence.

All in all, the developers say that Double-Bobble is able to register a fuel efficiency of 70% compared to contemporary airplanes. However, the most interesting thing is that most of this fuel efficiency (about 50%) is achieved due to wise design changes.

NASA will let the MIT team carry out trials of a 1/4 scale powered model in a subsonic wind tunnel, where the results could be compared to those registered by the 737-800, which are considered as standard.

The new aircraft is what's called an N+3. This implies that it's three generations from now, i.e. it could be built and launched onto the aircraft market by 2035 or so.

[via Aviation Week]

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