Submitted by Richard Smith on March 31, 2008 - 23:01
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.
Submitted by Richard Smith on March 24, 2008 - 20:00
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.
Submitted by Richard Smith on March 17, 2008 - 16:54
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.
Submitted by Richard Smith on February 27, 2008 - 12:01
Inspired by the (fictional - yes, it was a scaled model) underwater Lotus Espirit that James Bond drove in the movie "The Spy Who Loved Me," Frank Rinderknecht of Rinspeed commissioned ESORO to build the sQuba, a concept car for the Geneva Motor Show. What's so special about the sQuba? It can really 'fly' underwater.
Submitted by Richard Smith on February 18, 2008 - 16:36
I've noticed a flurry of announcements that cite the use of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) in the design of new cars for public roads and race tracks. While none of these announcements say that CFD was responsible for the design of the whole car, equally they don't say, with much clarity, what exactly did CFD contribute?
Submitted by Richard Smith on February 13, 2008 - 15:04
"What's the fastest way to become a commercial space millionaire? Start as a commercial space billionaire." So goes the joke in the space industry, and some billionaires are putting this theory to the test, as I covered in "Just For Fun: The New Space Race." But if you are missing the billions and just want some inexpensive rocket fun, then consider a more earth-bound air-powered paper rocket.
Submitted by Richard Smith on January 29, 2008 - 08:18
Given the technological sophistication of today's wind turbines, it's quite humbling to think that their theoretical maximum efficiency was derived by wind turbine pioneer Albert Betz in 1920. Betz' Law, as it is now known, is a relatively simple proof that the maximum efficiency of a wind turbine, irrespective of its design, cannot exceed 59%. Still, some believe laws are there to be broken - at least in the virtual simulation world.