Richard Smith's blog

Wind Energy: Back to the Future

Global warming concerns have launched a renewable electricity-generation boom with sleek wind-turbine farms on land and at sea playing a leading role. Yet capturing wind energy using windmills is an ancient science that pre-dates the use of electricity. The invention of the windmill is variously attributed to the Babylonians (circa 1700BC) and the Persians (circa 600-900AD); either way it is still an ancient machine.

Build It Yourself

The democratization of technology isn't just about making things for less, to line the already full pockets of CEOs. The ubiquity of technology also allows hobbyists and students to build more for less. Nowhere is this truer than for aerodynamic gadgets such as cars, planes and even wind turbines!

X-15 CFD Images on Postage Stamps

The United States Postal Service (USPS) on March 17, 2007 issued 2 stamps that feature Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) generated images of the North American X-15 rocket plane in flight.

Formula Hybrid

The inaugural Formula Hybrid International Competition was held May 1-3, 2007 at the New Hampshire International Speedway, Loudon, NH, USA. College and university students from the US and Canada took up the challenge to construct and race gasoline-hybrid powered, open-wheel racecars.

Secrets of Underbody Tunnels, Rear Diffusers and Venturis

Underbody tunnels, rear diffusers and venturis are common terms used to describe the contouring of a racing car's underbody. While largely hidden from view, these devices are the secret weapons in an arsenal of aerodynamic features for generating downforce on racing cars.

Automotive X Prize

The Automotive X Prize will award substantial cash prizes to the winning teams of a long-distance stage race. So is it replicating the World Rally Championship then? Not quite. The vehicles competing for the Automotive X Prize have to be environmentally friendly, production-capable and exceed 100mpg. I doubt any World Rally Cars will qualify!

Introduction to Aerodynamics

Merriam-Webster's online dictionary definition for aerodynamics is "a branch of dynamics that deals with the motion of air and other gaseous fluids and with the forces acting on bodies in motion relative to such fluids." So what is aerodynamics again?

April Fools - Fake Wired Cover

April 1st is April Fools' Day and so I thought it was an opportune moment to try my limited Gimp skills to fake a Wired cover. Maybe one day Caedium will be featured on the cover of Wired – I have a design ready!

Caedium on Cover of Wired Magazine

An image created by Caedium with our Professional add-on and rendered in POV-Ray will adorn the April 1st, 2007 special edition cover of Wired magazine.

Why Use a Panel Method?

Panel methods can calculate the gas or liquid flow around complex 3D configurations, such as aircraft, with relative ease. However, that ease comes at a price: panel methods are incapable of modeling the viscous effects that are evident in all real-world flows. So why would an engineer use a panel method?

Panel Method Wing-Body CalculationPanel Method Wing-Body Calculation

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