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'[TECH]Copying creatures.'
2011\01\16@043239 by cdb

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I have just finished watching Wallace and Gromit's World of Inventions.

Apart from the Dutch inventor who has made mechanical self sustaining (so long as there is wind) beach creatures, that have a near humanoid way of walking, out of PVC pipes, there was a very interesting invention, by I think Southampton University, which is a fly powered electric clock.
There is a 5 digit seven segment display for the clock and it and a conveyer belt of fly paper is driven by a bio mass converter. Looking very much like a small hydrogen fuel cell, the cell is filled with fly eating bacteria. The bacteria are relieved of their electrons, though they didn't say how this was done, but the collection of the electrons allows after some conversion and subsequent storage to drive the small motor for the belt and the clock. Apparently  8 flies is enough to run the clock for 12 days. The Pitcher plant and it's relatives were the catalyst for this idea.

There was also a German research group that have made hydrogen filled flying manta ray planes. They hope to use the designs to make more fuel efficient planes, ones that are able to fly substantially by using the air itself as a ray does in water to swim.

Colin
--
cdb,   3/07/2009
--




spam_OUTcolinTakeThisOuTspambtech-online.co.uk

2011\01\16@091154 by Olin Lathrop

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cdb wrote:
> ones that are able to fly substantially by
> using the air itself as a ray does in water to swim.

Ding - Ding - Ding

That's the sound perpetual motion alarm bells going off.

Planes already fly by "using the air".  As the plane passes thru some air,
it pushes it down, which in turn pushes the plane up to counter gravity.
Rays and most sea creatures have a different ballance as they are close to
neutrally boyant, and therefore gravity cancels out of the equation.

The question for planes (which are heavier than air and must keep countering
gravity to stay up) is not whether to use the air to achieve this (of course
they do, that's part of the definition of a plane, as apposed to a rocket or
blimp or other air craft), but where the power comes from and how it is
applied to push the air down.

Perhaps what these people are doing isn't snake oil, just your explanation
of it ("using the air itself") makes it seem that way?


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2011\01\16@145728 by cdb

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:: Perhaps what these people are doing isn't snake oil, just your
:: explanation
:: of it ("using the air itself") makes it seem that way?

Yes, my explanation was crap.

A Manta Ray glides through the water in a very energy efficient way, due in part to it's shape and the way it twists its' 'wings'. What the research institute have designed is a hydrogen filled structure shaped like a Ray, with wing tips and a tail that can mimic the essential body movements in air that the Ray uses in water.

The structure requires two 4 channel radio controlled transmitters to replicate the momements.  They have these devices 'flying' around the research centres buildings.  They hope to use what they learn to make planes more fuel efficient by changing their shape and so they said, because they plan to have moving wings and tail, less powerful engines will be needed.

At the moment they appear to be cheating as they are relying on hydrogen to get them afloat and thereafter the Manta motion flies them.  I'm not sure people would be that thrilled to sit in a plane where the wing tips 'ripple' at the edges and where the tail of the fuselage does a whale type impressions. OTOH whilst this and many of the inventions shown (such as the Dutchman and his self walking beach creatures) seem bizzare and of no purpose, I'm sure they could prove a catalyst for other more down to earth inventions. The fly powered clock for example is being used to develop bio mass fuel cells for power.
Colin
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2011\01\17@041835 by alan.b.pearce

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> At the moment they appear to be cheating as they are relying on hydrogen to
> get them afloat and thereafter the Manta motion flies them.  I'm not sure
> people would be that thrilled to sit in a plane where the wing tips
> 'ripple' at the edges and where the tail of the fuselage does a whale type
> impressions.

Where I live in the UK there are a lot of Red Kites, a medium to large bird of prey http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdguide/name/r/redkite/index.aspx with a sizable forked tail. Like many of its relatives it steers itself around the sky by twisting its tail. A local model plane modeller has made an imitation Red Kite that flies without a vertical tail fin, and twisting the horizontal tail elements. Apparently he has the real birds come along and fly with his model to see 'who else is in their patch' as it were. The model plane has piqued the interest of aeronautical folk as the vertical tail fin is a significant drag factor on an aeroplane, and so there is interest in how well this model performs.
-- Scanned by iCritical.

2011\01\17@061444 by RussellMc

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> There was also a German research group that have made hydrogen filled
> flying manta ray planes. They hope to use the designs to make more fuel
> efficient planes, ones that are able to fly substantially by using the air
> itself as a ray does in water to swim.

A U2 does a subset of this.
A major problem is getting them to stop flying once they get to cruise altitude.
They need to be gently coaxed down, as it were.I read long ago of one
that had a flameout at 300+ miles offshorer and managed a power off
landing at a civil airport after gliding home. For that to be true iot
would have had to be above about 50,000 feet. Entirely feasible.

What doesn't help is that at altitude their minimum speed before stall
and their maximum safe airframe speed converge until there is an about
zero sped slot that you can fly in.
Charming.
Hmm - that sounds like I'm making it up :-).
Gargoyles ...
OK
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_U-2

This is probably where I read it previously :-)

High-aspect-ratio wings give the U-2 some glider-like characteristics,
with a lift-to-drag ratio estimated in the high 20s. To maintain their
operational ceiling of 70,000 feet (21,000 m), the U-2A and U-2C
models (no longer in service) must fly very near their maximum speed.
The aircraft's stall speed at that altitude is only 10 knots (19 km/h)
less than its maximum speed. This narrow window was referred to by the
pilots as the "coffin corner". For 90% of the time on a typical
mission the U-2 was flying within only five knots above stall, which
might cause a decrease in altitude likely to lead to detection, and
additionally might overstress the lightly built airframe.

_____

They have one in the Car Park at Moffat's field (or did have)
Also a Harrier.
Also a Titan 1
Better than your average car park :-)

________


Gary's outing

         http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1960_U-2_incident

Pretty pictures

http://www.google.co.nz/images?hl=en&xhr=t&q=u2+aircraft&cp=5&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=univ&ei=niE0Tem2Koy6sAOevcSvBQ&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ct=title&resnum=3&sqi=2&ved=0CDgQsAQwAg&biw=1066&bih=718

Dragon Lady

    http://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/u2/

    http://www.globalaircraft.org/planes/u-2_dragon_lady.pl

   http://usmilitary.about.com/library/milinfo/milarticles/blu-2.htm

   http://www.militaryfactory.com/aircraft/detail.asp?aircraft_id=51

     http://www.military-aircraft.org.uk/other-military-aircraft/lockheed-u-2.htm





  http://www.area51zone.com/aircraft/u2.shtm

2011\01\17@083353 by Olin Lathrop
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cdb wrote:
> A Manta Ray glides through the water in a very energy efficient way,
> due in part to it's shape and the way it twists its' 'wings'. What
> the research institute have designed is a hydrogen filled structure
> shaped like a Ray, with wing tips and a tail that can mimic the
> essential body movements in air that the Ray uses in water.

That makes a lot more sense.  However, it's not clear where they think the
efficiency will come from.  Are they saying that moving the wing is more
efficient at providing forward thrust than a propeller or jet engine?  I
suppose that's possible as propellers are not 100% efficient.

If that's what I was after, I would go looking at birds first, not creatures
that fly in a dense medium at neutral boyancy.  Birds do flap their wings,
and 10s of millions of years of evolution must have resulted in a few fairly
efficient tradeoffs.  It seems to be that large vultures would be a good
place to start since energy consumption while staying aloft for large
periods of time is important to them.  The albatross is another good
candidate.


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2011\01\17@121954 by RussellMc

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> If that's what I was after, I would go looking at birds first, not creatures
> that fly in a dense medium at neutral boyancy.  Birds do flap their wings,
> and 10s of millions of years of evolution must have resulted in a few fairly
> efficient tradeoffs.  It seems to be that large vultures would be a good
> place to start since energy consumption while staying aloft for large
> periods of time is important to them.  The albatross is another good
> candidate.

But, strangely, a Pterodactyl and its kin must have been doing
something very special.
They make no sense at all.
A look at their bone structure makes them look like an arcane joke.
They presumably flew, but it's not at all obvious how.
The 'climb up cliffs and then glide' "explanations"  make Occam very
uncomfortable. But, anything else seems worse.


           Russell

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