Back To The Future?
We have come along way from balloons made of sackcloth and fighter planes made from wood and canvas. The materials used today would have seemed like alien technology to the early pioneers. But the principles of flight remain unchanged.
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Magnificent Flying Machines.
'The Flyer' flew four times on December 17, 1903 near the Kill Devil Hills, about four miles south of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, U.S.
There are four main forces at work during flight.
Thrust is the force that pushes the plane forward.
Weight is the force that pulls the plane towards the ground.
Drag is the force that tries to stop the plane moving through the air.
Lift is the force that keeps an aircraft in the air.
For centuries man had dreamt of flying, and 117 years after the first Montgolfier balloon flight, on the 17th December 1903 the Wright brothers flew the first powered, heavier than air vehicle. That 12-second flight changed the world forever. Let us see if we can find something out about the science of flight.
What makes flight possible?
Aeroplane wings are curved on the top, which makes the air move faster over the top of the wing. This reduces the air pressure. The slower air pushes up from below. This forces the wing to lift up into the air.
A fixed-wind aircraft's wings, horizontal, and vertical stabilizers are built with aerofoil-shaped cross sections, as are helicopter rotor blades. aerofoil are also found in propellers, fans,compressors and turbines. Sails are also aerofoils, and the underwater surfaces of sailing boats, such as the centre board and keel, are similar in cross-section and operate on the same principles as an aerofoil.
Bernoulli's principle states that a steady flow of fluid (gas or liquid), the pressure of the fluid decrease when the velocity(speed) if the fluid increase.
Research: Daniel Bernoulli, Montgolfier brothers, Alberto Santos Dumont, Isaac Newton, Leonardo da Vinci. Wright Brothers.
Airbus' 21st Century flagship A380 has been revolutionising air transport since its service introduction in 2007, bringing unmatched performance and economic efficiency to airline customers worldwide. The double-deck A380 is the world's largest commercial aircraft flying today, with capacity to carry 525 passengers. Large structural sections of the A380 are built in France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Due to their size, they are brought to the assembly hall in Toulouse in France by boats and trucks, and even other aircraft. Components of the A380 are provided by suppliers from around the world.
The Flight of the Future.
The Aeroscraft: is a new type of rigid, variable buoyancy air vehicle.
What will we be flying in 40 years from now? In the 1950’s people thought they would have flying rocket cars and personal jetpacks. In 2010 the picture is very different and what will be in the skies in 2050? No one really knows for sure but there are some very interesting technological developments happening right now, partly driven by the changes in fuel availability and the invention of new materials. These include a new breed of airships, such as the Aeroscraft [right] and solar powered aeroplanes, one of which called the Solar impulse [below] is attempting the first round the world flight by a solar powered aeroplane. Recently the massive Airbus A380 a double-deck, wide-body, four-engine airliner which is the worlds biggest passenger plane has taken to the skies. The A380 made its maiden flight on 27 April 2005
The BWB (Blended-wing Body) is a flying wing aircraft, as it has no definite fuselage and a single wing. It is a development of existing ideas, blending the fuselage, wings and engine into a single lifting surface. Another benefit is the use of embedded engines. Unlike the conventional pods hanging beneath the wing, embedded engines in the aircraft can improve propulsive efficiency and can reduce noise output by deflecting it upwards.
BWB aircraft also offers a reduction in the number of parts required relating to reduced manufacturing costs.
The Solar impulse.
The incredible record breaking Solar impulse, a solar powered aircraft from Switzerland, made by the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. First flight 3 December 2009.
Over 12,000 solar cells mounted onto the 64 metre wingspan of this solar powered plane supplies renewable energy to the four 10hp (horse power) electric motors. The Solar impulse is the first solar powered plane to fly a full solar cycle, including almost 9 hours in the dark, in a 26-hour flight on 7-8 July 2010.
10.12.2010 - Solar Impulse wins European Solar Prize
25.10.2010 - Three world records for Solar Impulse
08.07.2010 - First night flight ever by a solar plane!
Engineering the future.
We have come along way from balloons made of sackcloth and paper, steam trains, and fighter planes made from wood and canvas. The materials used today would have seemed like alien technology to the early pioneers.
There are new frontiers of engineering and material invention to be explored. Scientists have recently made a metal foam [like an aluminium Aero] The Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands has patented a fibre metal laminate called CentrAl reinforced aluminium, for use in aircraft manufacture. It is 25 percent stronger than high-strength aluminium alloy, is extremely resistant to metal fatigue and is highly damage-tolerant. But perhaps we would look toward a partly organic material, which could be grown, or 'smart' but controversial nanomaterials with morphological features.
NASA and GE Aviation are testing
a new "open rotor" jet engine with a different
design that puts the fan blades on the outside of the engine.
Rising fuel costs have revived
the open rotor engine design.
According to the European Climate Action Network, the exhaust from kerosene-burning jet engines is already responsible for 4 to 9 percent of the climate change impact . Many air travel industry companies are trying to reduce emissions.
The engineers of the future will almost defiantly be working in some of the most exciting times in aviation history.
The new Airbus320 NEO
Airbus is now concentrating on fuel efficient jets introduced as Airbus320 NEO (New Engine Option). A320 NEO is an improved version of A320, A320 NEO series has some significant features like ultra efficient engines, less engine noise and reduced emissions. A320 NEO hopes to be as environment-friendly as possible product because the new engines burn 16% less fuel and need less maintenance compared to today’s engines. A320 NEO will also include modifications in the wing design, especially the installation of winglets called “Sharklets” which reduce drag.
Energy costs. But just how much?
First things first.
The kilowatt-hour (kWh) is a unit of energy; it is the use of 1000 W per hour, or 100x100 watt bulbs for one hour. Right, lets imagine that you are going to fly to see England play in the world cup. How much energy would that trip use? Well lets say that a Jumbo Jet with 240 000 litres of fuel carries 416 passengers about 14 200 km. Fuel’s calorific value is 10 kWh per litre. So the energy cost of one return journey divided equally among the passengers, is:
|2 × 240 000 litre||× 10 kWh/litre||= 12 000 kWh per passenger|
If you only make one trip per year, then your average energy consumption per day is
|12 000 kWh||= 33 kWh/day|
14 200 km is a little further than London to Cape Town (10 000 km). We’ve slightly overestimated the distance, and for the sake of argument we should round the energy consumption down to 30 kWh/day. This is about as much power as it takes to play a Play Station 3, non-stop, 24 hours a day, for 5 years.
However, it would take 853 Solar Impulse planes to carry the same amount of passengers as the Airbus. We are along way away from solar passenger airliners, but the race is on to find cleaner ways of transporting people and goods by air, and the Solar Impulse is an inspiration.
853 Solar Impulses needed to fly the same amount of passengers.
Can the Aviation industry clean up its act?
To Fly an airliner 6000 Kilometres you will need approximately 51 tonnes of aviation fuel.
162 tonnes of CO2 [Carbon dioxide]
100 Kilogramme's of CO [Carbon monoxide]
63.8 tonnes of H2O [water vapour which forms cirrus clouds]
900 kilogrammes of NOx [Nitrogen oxide]
51 Kilogrammes of SO2 [Sulphur dioxide]
130 million tonnes of aviation fuel is burned every year.
Will there be an alternative fuel for flight? Some tests with biofuels have been successful, but the dream would be a carbon emission free flight.
Feature article: Hydrogen power. Feature company: Cella
Filling up at the pumps with hydrogen instead of petrol has moved a step
closer to reality with the launch of a new company which holds the technology
to make it happen. Cella Energy Limited is a brand new spin-out company from
STFC's Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. It is developing a novel technology
that allows hydrogen to be stored in a cheap and practical way, making it
suitable for widespread use as a carbon-free alternative to petrol. Hydrogen,
which produces only pure water when burned, is considered an ideal solution
to cutting carbon emissions from petrol, which are estimated to cause 25
per cent of all carbon release. Until now, attempts to store it have not
been consumer friendly so this has not been a viable option. Cella Energy
Ltd, which already has one investor in specialist chemical company Thomas
Swan & Co Ltd, who signed an agreement on 24 January 2011, believes it has
found the answer.
Working with the London Centre for Nanotechnology at University College London and University of Oxford, scientists from STFC's ISIS neutron source have developed a way of making tiny micro-fibres 30 times smaller than a human hair. These form a tissue-like material that is safe to handle in air. The new material contains as much hydrogen for a given weight as the high pressure tanks currently used to store hydrogen and can also be made in the form of micro beads that can be poured and pumped like a liquid. It could be used to fill up tanks in cars and aeroplanes in a very similar way to 'urrent fuels, but crucially without producing the carbon emissions. This is the technology underpinning Cella Energy Ltd.
Uses could include:
Powering portable fuel cell systems from a safe Hydrogen Bag TM
Vehicles - Hydrogen fuels for vehicles you can pump like
regular gasoline at room temperature and pressure, safer to use than gasoline
or diesel but with zero carbon emissions.
Fuel additives that could allow a regular vehicle to meet the Euro 6 emission standards with minimal modifications
Significant reduction in harmful emissions in the upper atmosphere.
Cella Energy hydrogen materials can also act as a radiation shield.
Reducing the cost of off-shore wind.
To find out more click here
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