Richard Smith's blog

Multi-Element Airfoils

Multi-element airfoils are used in a variety of aerodynamic devices from airplanes to bicycles. Let's take a brief tour through the applications of this versatile airfoil configuration.

Multi-Element Airfoil on Boeing 747-400Multi-Element Airfoil on Boeing 747-400

Wing In Ground Effect

An announcement that Chinese researchers are investigating ground effect vehicles or wing in ground-effect (WIG) vehicles re-opens an interesting chapter in aerodynamics dating back to the very first powered flights.

Ionic Wind

A new concept design in electronics cooling exploits ionic wind, or, more formally, a corona discharge, to improve the efficiency of traditional cooling fans. The same effect is also able to propel a levitation device called an ionocraft, and was also incorporated in an air purifier.

Just For Fun: The New Space Race

We are in the midst of a new space race. It isn't about proving national might, as the race to the moon was. No, this time it's just for fun.

Personal Jetpacks

Since the Wright brothers' first 12-second flight in 1903 we've seen impressive development of flying machines, from the helicopter to the Space Shuttle. However, a small, personal jetpack has proved both enticing and elusive.

Of Blended Wing-Bodies and Flying Wings

The remote controlled X-48B concept airplane flew for the first time on July 20, 2007. Joining an illustrious list of previous X-planes, such as the X-15, the X-48B aims to prove the viability of the blended wing-body concept – a combination of a flying wing and a lifting body. If history is anything to go by, the X-48B will have its work cut out.

Design-Build-Fly Competition

An international gathering of 36 student teams competed in the 2007 AIAA Design-Build-Fly competition. In its 11th year, the popular contest challenges student teams to build an unmanned, remote-controlled airplane to satisfy a series of constraints and flying tasks.

On This Day: July 16

On this day (July 16) in 1945 the atomic age began, quite literally, with a bang. The Manhattan Project detonated the world's first atomic bomb in the 'Trinity' test. On the same day other notable and connected events occurred with implications for humanity and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD).

Curve Ball Aerodynamics

Who hasn't wondered at those magical curve balls that we see in sports such as tennis, soccer, baseball and most impressively in ping pong? Or been disappointed by a horrible slice in a game of golf? Of course, there is no magic, these are just examples of aerodynamics in action – the Magnus effect to be precise.

World Water Speed Record Challengers

The world water speed record (317mph or 511 km/h) is under assault from 3 teams. The defending world record holder, Ken Warby is up for the challenge, as are teams from the USA and the UK.

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