Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy
Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

The Physics of Flight

Viktor Zacek
Université​ de Montréal

Tuesday, March 14, 2006
5:00 PM @ Stirling D

Abstract:

How do birds, insects and airplanes manage to stay airborne? The mass of a B747 at take off is 300 tons. Therefore in order to get the plane airborne, it needs a downward thrust of at least 3 million Newton. But the only material the airplane can throw down is air! And that is what the wings are for: they deviate a large mass of air downwards. We shall see that the popular explanation of the origin of lift based on Bernoulli's principle alone is incomplete. We will also see that from the hummingbird to the B747, everything that flies, obeys the same principles of aerodynamics and physics. We shall talk about the remarkable performances of birds and insects and discuss the limits and constraints, which aircraft designers encounter.

The Canadian Association of Physicists' Lecture is organized specifically at an undergraduate level. All are welcome!