Drag Reduction on Wind Turbine Blades and Underwater Bodies by Means of Bio-Inspired Fibrillar Surfaces


The disclosed embodiment describes the utilization of fibrillar microstructures to reduce drag on bodies moving through a fluidic medium through the reduction of turbulent flow to laminar flow. Specific to the fibrillar microstructure is a mushroom shape and stalk alignment as delineated through yet unperformed numerical analysis. These bio-inspired fibrillar structures reduce viscous drag and turbulence on surfaces of wind turbine blades the hulls of submarines and the interior of oil pipelines by up to 40 percent. Reducing drag and turbulence reduces their power consumption by improving machine speed and endurance. The micro-fiber structures are made from a simple micro-molding process and use readily available low-cost commercial materials like silicon rubber and polyurethane plastics. Any moldable material is compatible with the manufacturing process allowing for a wide material selection. This flexibility in materials and easy large-scale production make this technology commercially marketable. Market Applications: • Wind turbine blades for the wind energy industry • Submarines or other underwater bodies civilian or military • Wing design for the aerospace industry • Pipe flow turbulence reduction for petroleum industry water and sewer departments • Turbulence and drag reduction research Intellectual Property: A PCT application PCT/US14/24409 was filed on 03/12/14. Development Stage: This technology is a part of active and ongoing research program. Prototype material has been created and is being tested.


1) Low manufacturing costs relative to other drag reduction technologies 2) Fibrillar structures can be constructed using a wide variety of readily available materials making the technology customizable and controlling material costs 3) Polymer microfilm with desired fibrillar structures can be manufactured for large-scale applications like submarines or aeroplanes 4) Tested highest drag reduction and lift enhancement of any passive drag reduction system offering significant improvement in speed and efficient reducing power consumption 5) Reduced carbon footprint for military and civilian transportation from improved speed and reduced power consumption 6) Faster more efficient delivery of materials such as oil medicine and troop supplies

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