In previous posts I have discussed the unique characteristics and manufacturing processes of a certain type…
Aeroelasticity is the study of the interactions between dynamic, inertial and aerodynamic forces that arise when a body is immersed in airflow. The unique challenge of aeroelasticity is to analyse how vibrations, static deflections and lift and drag forces combine, and to make sure that any interaction of these three forces does not lead to inferior aircraft […]
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 […]
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 […]
Rocket technology has evolved for more than 2000 years. Today’s rockets are a product of a long tradition of ingenuity and experimentation, and combine technical expertise from a wide array of engineering disciplines. Very few, if any, of humanity’s inventions are designed to withstand equally extreme conditions. Rockets are subjected to awesome g-forces at lift-off, and […]
John Partridge is the founder of the deap-sea instrumentation company Sonardyne, and also graduated from the University of Bristol, my alma mater, with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1962. Since the founding in 1971, Sonardyne has developed into one of the leading instrumentation companies in oceanography, oil drilling, underwater monitoring and tsunami warning systems.
Earlier this year, I had the privilege of working on a research project at NASA’s Langley Research Centre. Apart from interacting with world-renowned scientists and engineers, what impressed me most was the mind-blowing heritage of the site.
NASA Langley is the birthplace of large-scale, government-funded aeronautical research in the US. It was home to […]
Adrian Bejan is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Duke University and as an offshoot from his thermodynamics research he has pondered the question why evolution exists in natural i.e. biological and geophysical, and man-made i.e. technological realms. To account for the progress of design in evolution Prof. Bejan conceived the constructal […]
Vanity Fair recently featured an excellent article on Air France Flight 447 that crashed into the Atlantic in 2009. It is a long read, but if you have 30 min to spare it will be a great educational investment.
The author, William Langewiesche, does a good job at weaving multiple aspects of aeronautics, […]
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