Drift Mitigation by Optimization of Wingtip ModificationEPA Contract Number: 68D01061
Title: Drift Mitigation by Optimization of Wingtip Modification
Investigators: Teske, Milton E.
Small Business: Continuum Dynamics Inc.
EPA Contact: Richards, April
Project Period: September 1, 2001 through September 1, 2003
Project Amount: $224,980
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase II (2001) Recipients Lists
Research Category: SBIR - Pollution Prevention , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)
Description:This SBIR Phase II project will confirm the drift reduction potential of the wingtip-mounted device developed in Phase I, through fabrication, installation on an agricultural aircraft, and field testing of the optimized design. Off-target drift of pesticides and herbicides during aerial spray applications remains a major source of environmental concern, due to its potential human health impacts, downwind contamination and damage to crops and livestock, and endangerment of ecological resources. New design tools, including the computer model AgDRIFT? (developed by Continuum Dynamics, Inc., and funded through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement between EPA's Office of Research and Development and the Spray Drift Task Force, an organization of 39 chemical companies manufacturing pesticides and herbicides in the United States), provide the enabling technology with which to complete the development of the optimized wingtip-mounted device in mitigating drift from aerial application. The preliminary device, developed and analyzed in Phase I with these validated tools, has been shown to reduce drift fraction over the edge of the spray block by 60 percent or more. A preliminary stability and control analysis indicates that the net effect on aircraft dynamic response and static stability will be minimal.
The Phase II effort will verify the drift reduction of the device found by the numerical models, through fabrication and installation of the optimized design on a selected agricultural aircraft, and execution of an extension field study. Phase II results will demonstrate that the device can significantly reduce the buffer zones currently being considered around sensitive areas (by up to a factor of three or more), expand the usefulness of available pesticide and herbicide products, lower application costs, reduce environmental risk, and permit the delivery of these materials in a more accurate and environmentally safe manner. Smaller buffer zones provide an incentive for the pilot to spray more of the field, thereby improving productivity and protecting more crop. They also open the chemical market, permitting the pilot to use products in situations where these chemicals cannot now be used. Reducing drift also will have a positive impact on aviation insurance and, most importantly, the environment.