Microfluidic devices played a leading role in the sequencing of human DNA during the Human Genome Project, resulting in its completion ahead of initial estimates. They can also be found in most inkjet printers controlling the ink sprayed onto a page. Further advances in the design and manufacture of microfluidic devices, such as the so called lab-on-a-chip, show promise for a revolutionary range of applications.

Microfluidic DevicesMicrofluidic DevicesLicense: CC BY-SA 3.0, Richard Wheeler

Air Blowing Applications

When the naturally induced airflow over a moving aerodynamic device, such as a wing, just isn't enough to satisfy design requirements then strategic air or gas blowing is always an option to enhance the device's performance.

Brabham Fan Car BT46Brabham BT46 'Fan Car'License: CC BY 2.0, edvvc

Multi-Element Airfoils

Multi-element airfoils are used in a variety of aerodynamic devices from airplanes to bicycles. Let's take a brief tour through the applications of this versatile airfoil configuration.

Multi-Element Airfoil on Boeing 747-400Multi-Element Airfoil on Boeing 747-400Courtesy of Adrian Pingstone

Wing In Ground Effect

An announcement that Chinese researchers are investigating ground effect vehicles or wing in ground-effect (WIG) vehicles re-opens an interesting chapter in aerodynamics dating back to the very first powered flights.

Caspian Sea MonsterCaspian Sea Monster: Soviet KM Ekranoplan

Ionic Wind

A new concept design in electronics cooling exploits ionic wind, or, more formally, a corona discharge, to improve the efficiency of traditional cooling fans. The same effect is also able to propel a levitation device called an ionocraft, and was also incorporated in an air purifier.

Plasma LampPlasma Lamp: Showing blue/violet flares similar to corona dischargeLicense: CC BY 2.5, Luc Viatour

Just For Fun: The New Space Race

We are in the midst of a new space race. It isn't about proving national might, as the race to the moon was. No, this time it's just for fun.

Armadillo Aerospace's PixelArmadillo Aerospace's PixelLicense: GNU Free Documentation License, Armadillo Aerospace

Personal Jetpacks

Since the Wright brothers' first 12-second flight in 1903 we've seen impressive development of flying machines, from the helicopter to the Space Shuttle. However, a small, personal jetpack has proved both enticing and elusive.

Bell Rocket BeltBell Rocket BeltCourtesy of US Army Transport Museum

Of Blended Wing-Bodies and Flying Wings

The remote controlled X-48B concept airplane flew for the first time on July 20, 2007. Joining an illustrious list of previous X-planes, such as the X-15, the X-48B aims to prove the viability of the blended wing-body concept – a combination of a flying wing and a lifting body. If history is anything to go by, the X-48B will have its work cut out.

X-48B Blended Wing BodyX-48B Blended Wing BodyCourtesy of NASA

Design-Build-Fly Competition

An international gathering of 36 student teams competed in the 2007 AIAA Design-Build-Fly competition. In its 11th year, the popular contest challenges student teams to build an unmanned, remote-controlled airplane to satisfy a series of constraints and flying tasks.

MIT Design Build Fly2007 Design-Build-Fly Winner from MITCourtesy of competition website

On This Day: July 16

On this day (July 16) in 1945 the atomic age began, quite literally, with a bang. The Manhattan Project detonated the world's first atomic bomb in the 'Trinity' test. On the same day other notable and connected events occurred with implications for humanity and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD).

Trinity TestTrinity TestCourtesy of The Library of Congress

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