With the "eRay", the winning team of TUM created an ultra-efficient aircraft. (Image: DLR, CC-BY 3.0)
The German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the United States have announced the winners of their joint design competition in Washington DC. As in 2017, students of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) prevailed on the German side: With their aircraft design "eRay", the students managed to radically reduce energy consumption. More than one hundred teams from the United States and Germany entered the competition. The winning teams were honored during a symposium at NASA headquarters in Washington DC.
Increasing efficiency while reducing emissions - these are the key challenges aviation faces today. The team of students from TUM won the competition with an aircraft design which reduces fuel consumption by up to 64%.
Turbo drive, less weight
The team from Munich achieved this enormous reduction in fuel consumption by integrating the turbo-electric drive and reducing the weight of the aircraft. The drive packages on the edge of the rear wing were particularly advantageous in the design of the aircraft. Moreover, a lightly engaged elevator unit enabled good integration of the power unit which encapsulates the tail. In order to lower the weight and thereby decrease emissions, the design does without windows, achieving a weight savings of seven percent in the hull alone.
Synergetic effects, less resistance and lower gust loads
Alexander Frühbeis, Isa Held, Patrick Sieb and Artur Usbek also used various synergetic effects to increase efficiency. Furthermore, the team decreased the resistance by reducing the surface area of the tail unit. The design of the Munich-based team also managed to lower the gust load exerted on the aircraft.
New department at the right time
TU President Hermann congratulated the young technological champions on their internationally recognized achievement: "Being ambassadors of the TUM brand, you have rightfully earned the university’s respect. The establishment of the new Department of Aerospace, Aeronautics and Geodesy could not have been more perfectly timed."