Rocket technology has evolved for more than 2000 years. Today’s rockets are a product of…
On December 17 1903, the bicycle mechanic Orville Wright completed the first successful flight in a heavier-than-air machine. A flight that lasted a mere 12 seconds, reaching an altitude of 10 feet and landing 120 feet from the starting point. The Wright Flyer was made of wood and canvas, powered by a 12 horsepower internal combustion engine […]
After Germany and its allies lost WWI, motor flying became strictly prohibited under the Treaty of Versailles. Creativity often springs from constraints, and so, paradoxically, the ban imposed by the Allies encouraged precisely what they had actually wanted to thwart: the growth of the German aviation industry. As all military flying was prohibited under the Treaty, […]
On November 8, 1940 newspapers across America opened with the headline “TACOMA NARROWS BRIDGE COLLAPSES”. The headline caught the eye of a prominent engineering professor who, from reading the news story, intuitively realised that a specific aerodynamical phenomenon must have led to the collapse. He was correct, and became publicly famous for what is now known as […]
How quickly do the small bubbles of gas rise in a pint of beer?
To answer this question we will use the concept of aerodynamic drag introduced in the last two posts […]
At the start of the 19th century, after studying the highly cambered thin wings of many different birds, Sir George Cayley designed and built the first modern aerofoil, later used on a hand-launched glider. This biomimetic, highly cambered and thin-walled design remained the predominant aerofoil shape for almost 100 years, mainly due to the fact that […]
Despite the growing computer power and increasing sophistication of computational models, any design meant operate in the real world requires some form of experimental validation. The idealist modeller, me included, wants to believe that computer simulation will replace all forms of experimental testing and thereby allow for much faster design cycles. The issue with this […]
(Caveat: There is a little bit more maths in this post than usual. I have tried to explain the equations as good as possible using diagrams. In any case, the real treat is at the end of the post where I go through the design of rocket nozzles. However, understanding this design methodology is naturally easier […]
This is the fourth and final part of a series of posts on rocket science. Part I covered the history of rocketry, Part II dealt with the operating principles of rockets and Part III looked at the components that go into the propulsive system.
One of the most important […]
This is the third in a series of posts on rocket science. Part I covered the history of rocketry and Part II dealt with the operating principles of rockets. If you have not checked out the latter post, I highly recommend you read this first before diving into what is to […]
In a previous post we covered the history of rocketry over the last 2000 years. By means of the Tsiolkovsky rocket equation we also established that the thrust produced by a rocket is equal to the mass flow rate of the expelled gases multiplied by their exit velocity. In this way, chemically fuelled rockets […]
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