Richard Smith's blog

Paper Airplanes

The Chinese are attributed with the invention in AD 105 of what we know today as paper. A good bet is that the first flying paper object soon followed as a screwed up paper ball flew toward a trash can. Recognizable paper airplanes appeared much later, with sightings coinciding with the first powered flight by the Wright brothers at the beginning of the 20th Century.

Flying Wind Turbines and Blog Action Day

Today (October 15, 2007) is Blog Action Day and upwards of 15,000 bloggers will cover subjects related to the environment. The aim is to raise awareness of environmental issues – this post is my contribution to the cause. Environmentally friendly, renewable energy generation is a theme I've covered in a number of previous posts ranging from wave energy to horizontal, vertical and micro wind turbines. Continuing this theme today I'm going to cover flying wind turbines.

Faceted Modeling

A vast army of 3D artists, initially led by movie and game animators, but more recently joined by students and hobbyists, have compiled an extensive archive of 3D faceted models. These models cover every imaginable item from the mundane, such as eating utensils, to the realms of pure fantasy, such as the Starship Enterprise from Star Trek.

Submersible Racecar

While on the surface it seems that submersibles and racecars share nothing in common – dive a little deeper and you'll see that they do. Racecar giants Lola and Cosworth are playing a major role in helping BAE Systems develop an Unmanned Underwater Vehicle known as Talisman.

Micro Air Vehicles

Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) are a relatively new class of flying craft that are attracting interest from a broad spectrum of users spanning soldiers to children.

Microfluidics

Microfluidic devices played a leading role in the sequencing of human DNA during the Human Genome Project, resulting in its completion ahead of initial estimates. They can also be found in most inkjet printers controlling the ink sprayed onto a page. Further advances in the design and manufacture of microfluidic devices, such as the so called lab-on-a-chip, show promise for a revolutionary range of applications.

Air Blowing Applications

When the naturally induced airflow over a moving aerodynamic device, such as a wing, just isn't enough to satisfy design requirements then strategic air or gas blowing is always an option to enhance the device's performance.

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.

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