Blogs

X-Planes

X-plane is the legendary designation of an experimental US aircraft, such as the North American X-15. An X-plane is typically designed to explore the boundaries of technology in pursuit of higher speed, altitude and maneuverability.

Formula Hybrid v2.0

The second Formula Hybrid International Competition (May 5-7, 2008) just wrapped up at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Originally conceived and again hosted by Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth, the event attracted 15 teams, up from the 9 teams who entered in 2007.

Electric Airplanes

Electricity was an early player in the race to power aircraft, and achieved initial success in 1884 powering a dirigible. Electric powered vehicles fell out of favor with the introduction of the internal combustion engine and the turbojet engine. With recent concerns about emissions from burning fossil fuels, electric power is back, and not only for cars but for airplanes too.

Lego Engineering

Having entertained children and adults alike for 50 years, Lego has recently made a successful leap into the future of technology and engineering. You'll find video games, programmable robotics kits and even Computer Aided Design (CAD) tools to support limitless virtual construction.

Fluid Dynamics and Perfect Espresso

A perfect espresso is more a function of science than art - contrary to many people's experience. The majority of the processes required to turn green coffee beans into a delicious espresso is dominated by fluid dynamics.

Stirling Engine Cools Chips

Using a Stirling engine (which converts heat into useful work) for electronics cooling seems like a perfect fit - at least according to Micro-Star International (MSI). In retrospect you wonder why no one thought of the concept sooner.

FanWing: A Flying Lawn Mower

What do you get if you cross a reel lawn mower with an airplane? The answer is FanWing - a low-speed airplane concept. Unlike a traditional fixed-wing airplane, the FanWing can generate lift independent of its forward airspeed. The source of its lift is a cross flow fan resembling the cylindrical blade on a reel lawn mower.

Wind Funnel to Replace CFD

Anyone well versed in aerodynamics knows that Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is an indispensable analysis tool - just ask the automotive industry. However, CFD, like all analysis methods, has limitations. For example, try calculating the unsteady air flow around an entire Formula One (F1) car in less than a week. Fear not though; help may be at hand in the form of a new experimental analysis method using a Wind Funnel.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Up, Pilots Down

In the near future it's likely that airplane pilots will not actually venture into the air. Most 'pilots' will instead 'fly' Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) from ground-based virtual cockpits. This trend is already evident in the military, but it is poised to extend to and transform all branches of piloted aerospace vehicles.

Flying Car Contenders

Combining a car and an airplane into a single vehicle has proved to be an elusive dream. The convenience of a so-called flying car goes unquestioned, but the technical challenges are immense. It seems that the flying car is eternally 5-10 years away from reality. Each of the latest crop of would-be flying car manufacturers thinks that they have the necessary secret sauce to bring the flying car to life.

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