The fences, also known as ‘baffles’ act as ‘virtual chimneys’, which funnel the emissions from the aircraft engines. The lowering of concentration of gases happens due to the more effective dispersion that takes place.
The invention was created by a team of researchers from Manchester Metropolitan University, Cranfield University, University of Southampton and the University of Cambridge, and funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Various baffle shapes were tested using laser scanning and chemical sensor techniques. The experiments showed that by using this man-size, low cost prototype, the aircraft exhaust plume leaves the ground within the airport’s boundary fence.
According to the project leader, Dr Mike Bennett, airports are usually built in open spaces where the wind blows freely. An array of these “chimneys” gives the plumes the upward push that they need to rise above the ground.
The exhaust will eventually disperse, there is no doubt about it, however the researchers claim that it still lowers the concentrations with up to 50%.
So far, the team is still at the testing stage of the prototype. In the trial, the scientists were testing a way to make each baffle sufficiently robust to withstand the blast from the engine, but it also has to be
To be fully functional, the researchers suggest it should be placed being a runway.
In addition to reducing emissions, the baffles were found to also reduce noise, although in a limited amount.