Richard Smith's blog

Super Cavitation Watercraft

Say you've been tasked with designing a new water pleasure craft optimized for speed called the Slickjet (fictional name). You ask the fundamental question - how do you travel fast through water? Easy, get as much of your Slickjet out of the water as you can. You know that the drag force acting on a totally submerged shape in water will be about 1000 times higher than for the same shape in air - the drag force scales according to the density of the fluid and water is 1000 times denser than air. Of course this assumes you are willing to get FAA approval for an aircraft rather than a boat. However, there is an alternative in that if you can somehow cocoon parts of your Slickjet in an air bubble as it moves through the water then you can convince the physics that those parts of your Slickjet are moving through air rather than water. This process is known as super cavitation and results in the drag forces acting on those parts of your Slickjet being more like those encountered in air rather than water.

GHOST Super Cavitation WatercraftGHOST Super Cavitation WatercraftCourtesy of Juliet Marine Systems

London 2012 Olympics: Fluid Technology for Cycling

Cycling is one of the fastest sports in the Olympics. With that speed comes an increased importance on aerodynamics. In cycling the aerodynamic design is focused on minimizing drag. However, as with swimming, there are carefully crafted rules that ensure there is only a narrow scope for aerodynamic optimization to gain a competitive advantage.

Fishing NetLondon 2012 Cycling Test EventCredit: London 2012

Vortex Shedding Behind a Cylinder

Given how simple the geometry defining a cylinder is, you'd intuitively think that the air flow around it would also be simple. And as with many things fluid you'd be wrong.

Vortex Shedding Caedium CFD SimulationVelocity vectors (high definition video)

London 2012 Olympics: Fluid Technology for Track and Field (Athletics)

A big draw of any Olympics is the track and field (athletics) events and no less so in London. What effect is the application of fluid technology to these events likely to have? If past Olympics are anything to go by - not much!

Nike Pro Turbospeed Promo Video: Starts at 0:50

London 2012 Olympics: Fluid Technology for Swimming

With the London 2012 Olympics just around the corner, I thought it would be interesting to review the application of fluid technology to various Olympic sports, starting with swimming.

Men's 200m Freestyle Final - World's Swimming Championship Shanghai 2011No more supersuits

Wind Turbine Crossed with a Blimp

Another helium-filled post - this time it's a helium-filled blimp that houses a horizontal-axis wind turbine [source: gizmag]. Altaeros Energies recently released a video of their prototype Airborne Wind Turbine in action:

Tetrahedra Take Flight

Who knew that tetrahedra could fly? I know, pretty much anything can fly when you fill it with helium, but the movement of helium-filled tetrahedra called SmartInversion by Festo gives rise to an interesting and unusual propulsion method [source: gizmag]. Using inverse kinetics, Festo have developed what they call an "airborne geometrical band with inversion drive". The movement is difficult to describe but mesmerizing to watch:

Fishy Fluid Dynamics

Fishermen at Lake Como, Italy, have shown remarkable knowledge of the complex water currents in the lake. Researchers found [source: Science Mag] that the fishermen's knowledge correlated well with independent observations and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations. The primary means the fishermen use to monitor water currents is by the deformations the currents cause in their large nets once deployed in the lake.

Fishing NetFishing Net© Copyright Peter Church and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Esperanto For Computational Fluid Dynamics

Big news from Europe - a new European directive has just been passed that requires all software applications released in the European Union to support the Esperanto language by June 2012. This is part of a larger European directive mandating that all European countries are to adopt Esperanto as the Europe-wide common language by 2014.

Caedium in EsperantoCaedium in Esperanto

How to Lose F1 Races with a Wind Tunnel and CFD

I recently came across a blog post "How to lose races with CFD" [source: Another Fine Mesh] related to the CFD-only strategy pursued by the Marussia Formula 1 Team (formerly Virgin Racing) during the 2010 and 2011 F1 seasons. It seems such an easy conclusion to make, right? During its first 2 F1 seasons the Marussia team garnered a lot of publicity thanks to their CFD-only (no wind tunnel testing) strategy and during that period they didn't win a race, therefore CFD must lose races, right? Not so fast.

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