Richard Smith's blog

Navier-Stokes Equations

Readers of Physics World, published by the Institute of Physics, voted Maxwell's equations and Euler's identity the greatest equations of all time. I guarantee if you posed the same question to mechanical engineers the Navier-Stokes equations would figure near the top, probably second to Newton's F = ma.

Competition Spurs Innovation

Competition spurs innovation like nothing else. It appears that a new golden age of engineering and science competition is upon us, with substantial monetary prizes going to the victors.

If necessity is the mother of invention, then competition must be the mother of innovation. The motivational power of monetary prizes in engineering competition is well proven, just look at the aerodynamic innovation in Formula 1 racing from 1967-2007 as an example.

Stanley in the 2005 DARPA Grand ChallengeStanley in the 2005 DARPA Grand ChallengeOfficial press photo released by the VW Press Department

Formula 1 Aerodynamics

One of the most dramatic examples of an aerodynamic device is a Formula 1 racing car. It wasn't always so, in fact pre-1967 F1 cars made very little use of aerodynamics. The thinking at that time was to optimize cars for straight-line speed, i.e., minimize drag.

1967 Honda Formula 1 Car, pre-wing era1967 Honda Formula 1 Car, pre-wing era

James Bond Submarines for Sale

Uboatworx is selling personal submarines that are straight out of a James Bond movie.

U-Boat Worx Submersibles

Katz and McBeath Book Reviews

Two standout books, one from Joseph Katz and the other from Simon McBeath, are worthy additions to any racecar aerodynamics enthusiast's library.

Dimples on Golf Balls

Dimples on golf balls and vortex generators on wings are both designed to induce turbulence in boundary layers.

Dimpled Golf BallDimpled Golf BallCopyright 2007, used with permission

Nature Inspires Aviation Innovation

"Good artists copy, great artists steal"
- Pablo Picasso

If imitation is the greatest form of flattery, then surely it's time nature headed to the patent office.

What Happened to Advantage CFD?

"The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and you have burned so very, very brightly...Revel in your time."
- Tyrell (Joe Turkel), BladeRunner (1982)

It appears that the Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) consultancy to the cars is gone.

F1 Car by Advantage CFDF1 Car by Advantage CFDSymscape does not hold the copyright on this picture.


Today we understand turbulence well enough so that airplanes don't fall from the sky and liquid fuel igniting inside a rocket engine produces enough thrust to blast payloads into space.

Turbulent SmokeTurbulent SmokeLicense: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, vanessapr

Real-Time Simulation

Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) software enhances product design and manufacture. In the parallel world of video games and movies, CAE-like software gives life to breath-taking effects and virtual realism.

Plasma PongPlasma Pong

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