Richard Smith's blog

WWII Stealthy Flying Wing

The Northrop Grumman B-2 is the epitome of a stealthy flying wing. However, a recent study has shown that the Horton Ho 229, a World War II (WWII) flying-wing prototype, also shared a number of characteristics with the B-2, including stealth - 45 years prior to the first flight of the B-2.

Horton Ho 229Horton Ho 229

Science Museum: Formula 1

It's rare to find a recent Formula 1 (F1) car in a public museum, even rarer is to see an F1 car hanging upside down from the ceiling, yet you'll find both at the London Science Museum. Finally I'm at the end of my Science Museum grand tour - though it only took an afternoon in real time, it has spawned weeks worth of blog posts and covered a century of innovation - spanning computing, rockets, VTOL, British WWII Airplanes, wind tunnel models and now F1.

McLaren F1 CarMcLaren F1 Car

Science Museum: World War II Airplanes

On my recent visit to the London Science Museum, amongst computing, rockets and VTOL exhibits, I also came across some historic British airplanes in the Flight Gallery. In this post I'll focus on the World War II era airplanes that played a pivotal role in defending the skies above Britain.

Supermarine SpitfireSupermarine Spitfire

Swimsuits Banned as 'Technology Doping'

FINA, the governing body of swimming, has banned the full-coverage, low-drag swimsuits that are credited with aiding swimmers in breaking nearly all the world swimming records in the last year or so. I discussed drag reduction and its application to swimming in the lead up to the Beijing 2008 Olympics, where the Speedo LZR Racer swimsuit was the garment of choice for all would-be champions. In Beijing all but a couple of the existing Olympic records survived the LZR clad swimmer onslaught. Records were not only broken - they were smashed by huge margins instead of following a relatively steady historical progression.

Speedo LZR RacerSpeedo LZR RacerLicensed: CC BY 2.0, Kazuhisa OTSUBO

Science Museum: Wind Tunnel Models

In the days prior to Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), wind tunnel testing was the primary method for assessing the performance of airplanes prior to actually building them. On my visit to the London Science Museum I noticed a number of wind tunnel models of historic significance that I'll share with you here.

Concorde Wind Tunnel ModelsConcorde Wind Tunnel Models

Why Do Cyclists Shave Their Legs?

After watching a recent stage of the Tour de France I started wondering; is there any reason from an aerodynamic and heat-transfer perspective, why cyclists shave their legs?

Lance Armstrong & Fabian Cancellara - Tour de France 2009, stage 6 Barcelona (La Conreria)Lance Armstrong in the 2009 Tour de France: Smooth legs

Science Museum: Vertical Takeoff and Landing

The London Science Museum houses some historic exhibits as I found out on my recent visit. I've already posted articles on computing and rockets. Next up I'll cover a series of exhibits that related to the world's first Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) fixed-wing jet fighter - the Harrier 'jump jet.'

Hawker Siddeley P1127Hawker Siddeley P1127: Harrier jump-jet prototype

Science Museum: Rockets and Space

Following my computing-themed post about my London Science Museum visit, it's time to move on to the rockets and space exhibits. Hold onto your hats, here we go.

V2 RocketV2 Rocket

Science Museum: Computing

While on a recent visit to London I spent an enjoyable afternoon at the Science Museum. What I found was more sustenance for my computing-fluids obsession. In fact I came across enough fascinating exhibits to fill several blog posts. I'll kick off with a computing-themed post, first covering computing prehistory starting with the Babbage Difference Engines and the Phillips Hydraulic Computer, and moving on to the dawn of supercomputing with the Cray-1.

Test Segment of Difference Engine No. 1Difference Engine No. 1: Test Segment

Formula 1 Diffuser Controversy

The ongoing Formula 1 (F1) diffuser controversy has raised the awareness in the general public (especially in F1-mad countries, such as the UK) of a key aerodynamic device used in many forms of motor racing. And if one diffuser is good then two must be better, right? So goes the latest thinking in F1.

Brawn Double Deck Diffuser

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