Nassim Nicholas Taleb coined the term "Antifragility" in his book of the same name. Antifragility…
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 […]
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 […]
“Engineering is not the handmaiden of physics any more than medicine is of biology”
What is science? And how is it different from engineering? The two disciplines are closely related and the differences seem subtle at first, but science and engineering ultimately have different goals.
A scientist attempts to gain knowledge about the underlying structure of the […]
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 […]
In previous posts I have discussed the unique characteristics and manufacturing processes of a certain type of composite material, namely continuous fibre-reinforced plastics (FRPs). Just like many other composite materials, FRPs combine two or more materials whose combined properties are superior (in a practical engineering sense) to the properties […]
Nassim Nicholas Taleb coined the term “Antifragility” in his book of the same name. Antifragility describes objects that gain from random perturbations, i.e. disorder. Taleb writes,
Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure , risk, and uncertainty. Yet, in spite of the […]
Understanding the details of the atmosphere is critical for manned flight since it provides the medium through which the aircraft moves. The lift provided by the wings and drag experienced by the aircraft vary greatly with different altitudes. In fact Sir Frank Whittle was largely motivated to design a jet engine due to his insight […]
I have just returned from the International Conference for Composite Materials (ICCM) in Montreal, Canada and would like to share a few observations and key points about the developments in the composite world that may not be so easily accessible to a broader audience.
1) The Great Advance – Applications
ICCM is the biggest conference […]
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- Antifragility and Aircraft Design
- Milestones in Aircraft Structural Design
Although the exploitation of advanced composite materials in the aerospace industry is steadily increasing, high…
- The von Kármán Vortex Street and Tacoma Narrows Disaster
On November 8, 1940 newspapers across America opened with the headline “TACOMA NARROWS BRIDGE COLLAPSES”.…