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Honeycomb has been used successfully for many years as means of straightening ad directing air flow or changing turbulent flow into laminar flow. The thin cell walls provide an array of straight passageways with a maximum percent open area (95-99%), which results in a very low pressure drop and reduced turbulence and noise.
Aluminum and nonmetallic honeycomb have found applications in front of fans in ducts, air conditioners and heaters. Air curtains for some frozen food display cases rely on honeycomb to provide a narrow stream of air flow in front of the case. Wind tunnels and even water tunnels have used honeycomb as turning vanes and flow straightening devices.
Honeycomb placed in front of the fan increases the downstream velocity as a result of its ability to redirect the air in a straight path and reduce vortices.
A similar effect happens with ducted fans. Although the duct itself straightens or contains the air flow, honeycomb immediately in front of the fan aids in removing vortices and swirls in the flow. Turbulence causes noise, particularly at high air velocities of 1500 – 4000 ft/min (457 – 1219 m/min). Straightening the air flow can be beneficial not only in reducing power requirements, but also in keeping down the noise.