As I understand it, a (the?) major form of laminar-to-turbulent transition on the swept wings of large jets is the crossflow caused by the sweep. One way to control this is laminar flow control by boundary layer suction.

Now, I would expect crossflow to exist over all of the wing chord. Yet, hybrid laminar flow control, the solution I see most commonly proposed for the swept wing, only has suction on the leading edge, followed by natural laminar flow behind. Supposedly this gives simplicity yet most of the benefits of full-chord laminar flow control.

Yet we know that the favorable pressure gradient introduced by natural laminar flow is destabilizing to laminar flow on wings! And that crossflow still exists at the back. So, what makes this only partial suction a good compromise? Is it because the crossflow issue is bigger at the leading edge than elsewhere?


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