Loop de Loops

Here’s to the intrepids! The people who not only wonder why something isn’t so, but set out to make it so. The first loop de loop was performed by Petr Nesterov on Sep 9, 1913 in Belarus, Russia, Ukraine. It’s hard to believe that this is all about fluids in motion!


Videos: Forces on an Airplane

Another, slightly more technical, look at Cayley’s Four Forces of Flight!

Cayley’s Four Forces

Konstantin Tsiolkovsky

Google Doodle Konstantin Tsiolkovsky

More about Tsiolkovsky:
Rocket Men: Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky
Tsiolkovsky: Sixteen Stages of Space Exploration
Science Fiction and Science

Buoyancy: Swim Bladders

Internal_organs_of_a_fishWe’ve all heard that a shark must swim continuously or sink. Do you know why? It’s because sharks do not have a swim bladder. “This gas-filled sac provides buoyancy and helps to keep the fish afloat by keeping it in a neutrally buoyant state.” When in this state, the fish is neither rising nor sinking in the water.

Many bony fish – those having skeletons of bone rather than cartilage like our shark friends – have a swim bladder. It is located in the dorsal portion of the fish as noted in the anatomical sketch included in this post. The swim bladder can expand or contract by filling with or emptying itself of gas through the use of the gas gland. (In some less developed types of fish, the fish fills or empties the swim bladder with gulps of air.) The gas never passes through the wall of the swim bladder. You can think of the swim bladder  as a sort of internal helium balloon.

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Viscid and Inviscid Flows

Which of these is the less viscous fluid?

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David W. Taylor and the EMB

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Look Out!


An Ocean of Air

In 1644, Evangelista Toricelli wrote, “We live submerged at the bottom of an ocean of air.” We don’t feel the force of the pressure of this fluid any more than aquatic creatures feel the force of the water on all sides. Why? Because there is a uniformity of pressure in both cases; gravity exerts pressure on all sides.

Imagine for a moment that everything on the Earth and above its surface could exist under the water, or vice versa, without any change in appearance or properties. If we visualize  horizontal bands atop one another, it would break the habitable area into observable layers. Grass, trees, plants, insects, ground-dwelling animals would all be in the same layer as the plants, crabs, bottom-feeders, and sand dwelling creatures beneath the surface of the ocean. There would be fish swimming in the layer above our heads with the birds. Airplanes would soar further above, in a layer with the whales. Dolphins would escape the surface of the ocean, accompanied by rockets, at the topmost layer above Earth. It would be a jumbled and magnificent scene.  Wait! There’s more!

Sam the Space Monkey

Remember Sam? The Rhesus monkey who took a spin on Little Joe 2 as part of the Mercury program back in the early 60’s? Here he is, before and after the flight, showing off his model of the Mercury fiberglass contour couch. Wait! There’s more!

Newton’s Third Law of Motion in Action

Wait! There’s more!

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