How to Increase Aerodynamic Efficiency

The concept of aerodynamic efficiency revolves around a key idea of improving the overall fuel efficiency of vehicles. While typically focusing on the aviation and aerospace industries, arguments can be made that aerodynamics are also essential when manufacturing cars and other land vehicles. 

Regardless, the idea revolves around improving aerodynamics to reduce fuel consumption. The more dynamically a plane can move through the air, the less resistance it faces. Effectively, it will reduce drag and air resistance, meaning the plane requires less effort to fly. By not fighting against so many external forces, the engines aren’t required to power up to their full capacity. Over the course of a long flight, this can save a significant amount of CO2. 

Of course, the same can be applied to road transportation vehicles as well. If a car is made with a more aerodynamic body, it will face less air resistance and drag while driving. The air will simply flow over and around the car, letting it glide along without needing excessive engine power. In either instance, the vehicles are more efficient thanks to good aerodynamics. 

Aerodynamic Efficiency In Aerospace

Furthermore, aerodynamic efficiency is perhaps most important when dealing with the aerospace industry. Sending rockets into space is extremely expensive, and much of this revolves around the sheer power required to expel something into the sky and beyond the atmosphere. 

In fact, it’s estimated that one pound of cargo costs $3,000 to send into space. Therefore, manufacturers and engineers are working around the clock to reduce these costs. The primary process is to improve aerodynamic efficiency, which will reduce the drag coefficient (Cd). 

By increasing how aerodynamic a transport is, the amount of drag decreases. Thus, less power is needed to force the rocket into the atmosphere. Many theories have been tested to reduce Cd during flight, with one of the most obvious being the aim of lowering the overall weight of the rocket. Less weight means less resistance to push through the air, which ultimately increases the aerodynamics during flight. 

A multitude of applications and developments have been used to help reduce the excess weight of aerospace transports – as well as reduce the number of moving parts. The more parts there are attached to a rocket, the less aerodynamic it becomes. With microfabrication, this is becoming easier to achieve. The ability to construct tiny parts for aerospace transports leads to a reduction in both the weight and the overall size of the transport. 

Furthermore, constructing the vehicle to be more aerodynamic is also critical. While aerodynamics don’t matter in space, they are crucial in helping the rocket/shuttle get into space as quickly as possible. You will see a trend in smoother spaceships and often thinner ones as well – depending on what they’re being used for. 

Overall, increasing aerodynamic efficiency is vital to reduce fuel consumption and lower the operating costs of aerospace missions. The best techniques to do this involve reducing the weight and size of space shuttles, along with designing the shape to allow a smoother flow of air around it. 

Chris Turn