A French inventor has designed a wingtip device called Minix that is approximately five times more efficient than current winglets. The device is on show on the stand of Forecast International.
Minix, now in its second version, is a cylindrical device with helical slots at the aircraft’s wingtip. It smoothes the aerodynamics of the aircraft by reducing induced drag and wingtip vortices, and increasing the lift:drag ratio.
The helical slots cut into its length work on the principle that the vortices generated at the wingtip will hit the wing at the same distance inboard of the tip as the wing’s thickness. As the pressure exerted by the vortex on the wing surface increases, flow escapes through the slits and is dissipated into a linear flow through the open rear of the tube.
An A340 fitted with standard winglets can save an estimated $176,000 per year in fuel – but if it was fitted with Minix it could save around $880,000.
“The official drag reduction for the A340 is 1.2%. Minix reduces net drag by 6%. Not only does it reduce drag, and increase lift but it also eliminates vortices between M0.3 and M0.8,” says inventor Christian Hughes.
And it is not only aircraft that can benefit from this technology; it can be adapted for rotor blades, wind turbine blades and various other applications.