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As you might gather from Can planes benefit from Mitsubishi's Air Lubrication System? I'm interested in what possibilities there are for radically different approaches to aircraft body surfaces.

Aircraft body surfaces appear to be as smooth as possible, but not all things that fly well are smooth:

Has scientific or industry research indicated useful possibilities in new surfaces for aircraft body skins - or maybe alternatives to skins altogether?

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    $\begingroup$ You can find a lot of what you want here $\endgroup$ – SMS von der Tann Jun 10 '16 at 23:05
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    $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of Is a golf ball surface a good idea for wings or fuselage? $\endgroup$ – SMS von der Tann Jun 11 '16 at 11:33
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    $\begingroup$ @SMSvonderTann: This link is explicitly mentioned in the question. $\endgroup$ – mins Jun 11 '16 at 12:52
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    $\begingroup$ @SMSvonderTann That's listed as a possibility, but not as the only one. This questions covers more ground than that one. $\endgroup$ – Jay Carr Jun 11 '16 at 13:29
  • $\begingroup$ I think boundary layer suction might form the basis of a good answer - several experiments have been done in the past. (Leaving this as a comment as I can't find the references.) $\endgroup$ – Andy Jun 13 '16 at 8:38
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Non-smooth surfaces are already used, particularly in some Military Aircraft. If you've ever run your hand down the fuselage of an FA-18 Hornet you will find the surface is quite rough, much like the skin of a shark. At lower speeds very little is achieved, however at higher speeds small bubbles of air buildup in the indentations of the skin thereby creating an extremely slippery surface.

Take a look

Take a look here too

I'm certain my terminology is not correct, sorry about that. I would have put this all into comment, but I'm not allowed yet.

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  • $\begingroup$ would you happen to have some references to back up your claims? $\endgroup$ – Federico Jun 13 '16 at 12:21
  • $\begingroup$ Sadly I don't know what the technology is called. However, a few years back I was lucky enough to get on-board an F18 and commented on the roughness of the skin. The squadron leader told me it was similar to shark skin and developed, at speed, extremely good aerodynamics as a result. $\endgroup$ – Admiral Noisey Bottom Jun 13 '16 at 12:35
  • $\begingroup$ I did find this: flightglobal.com/news/articles/… $\endgroup$ – Admiral Noisey Bottom Jun 13 '16 at 12:43
  • $\begingroup$ thank you. if you manage to find also other sources, you can edit your answer to add them and make a better answer. $\endgroup$ – Federico Jun 13 '16 at 12:49
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    $\begingroup$ This is exactly the kind of information I was after, would love to see it written up into a full answer. $\endgroup$ – Daniele Procida Jun 13 '16 at 13:30

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