CoFlow Jet, LLC, an engineering and technology company specializing in active flow control using coflow jet (CFJ) technology for aerospace applications, has entered a Joint Ownership Agreement (JOA) with NASA to commercialize the deflected slip-stream (DSS) technology enabled by co-flow jet flow control.
Jointly developed between NASA and CoFlow Jet, LLC., the technology would allow aircraft to take-off vertically, hover, smoothly transition to cruise and land vertically without using tiltrotors, tiltwings, or lift plus configuration. This would substantially simplify the vehicle system, reduce weight, increase range, save energy, and decrease noise.
It would also combine vertical and short takeoff-landing (V/STOL), which facilitates aircraft to operate vertically within confined urban settings and further saves energy where there is a short runway space.
The basic concept of the proposed co-flow jet airfoil developed by the company is an active-flow control airfoil actuated by micro-compressors embedded inside the airfoil. A small amount of mass flow is drawn into the airfoil at the trailing edge, pressurized by the micro-compressor actuators and then injected near the leading edge tangential to the main flow. The result is a high lift system that can achieve a super-lift co-efficient at extremely low energy expenditure.
Source: CoFlow Jet
We are developing advanced fully electric vertical and short takeoff and landing (eV/STOL) vehicles using DSS enabled by CFJ, which will make urban transportation and eCommerce economically viable. Tiltrotors, tiltwings, and lift plus may soon be part of history. Such a vehicle could also be used on Mars as it could generate nearly 10 times higher cruise lift coefficient compared to existing fixed wing aircraft, making it the most effective vehicle not only here on Earth but also on Mars where the air density is one-hundredth that of earth.—Dr. Gecheng Zha, CEO of CoFlow Jet, and professor at the University of Miami
Concept vehicle. The vehicle is shown above hovering with its flaps pointing downward and its propellers facing forward. The airflow from the propellers is turned vertically downward (see right inset) converting the entire thrust from the propellers to vertical lift. Unlike most of the current VTOL vehicles, the lift is generated without rotating the propellers upward. The 90 degree turn in the airflow is enabled by the coflow jet micro-compressors embedded in the flaps of all four wings (see left inset).
Once airborne, the flaps are rotated to align flush with the wings to provide smooth cruise flight.
The figure above hows the tandem wing tailless eV/STOL vehicle at cruise. The figure is a simulated Mach contour plot from a NSF-funded project using the company’s high order scheme CFD (computational fluid dynamics) software.
The picture above shows the micro-compressors embedded inside a CFJ wing that was recently tested in a DARPA funded wind tunnel experiment.
Overall a CFJ-enabled vehicle would enjoy high safety, long range, high efficiency, and low noise. Currently, the eV/STOL air vehicle preliminary design is complete and the company is seeking investors to join them in prototype manufacturing and flight demonstration. Morgan Stanley projects the eVTOL market to be $1 trillion by 2040 and $9 trillion by 2050.