Annual Canadian Annual Canadian Association of Physicists Lecture: "The Physics of Flight"

Friday, March 24, 2006

by Victor Zacek

Department of Physics
Universite de Montreal

Location: Steacie Room 103, Carleton University

Date: Friday, March 24

Time: 14:30

How do birds, insects and airplanes manage to stay airborne? What is their secret? 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 Newtons. But the only material the airplane can throw down is air! And that's what the wings are for: they deviate a large volume of air downwards. We shall see that the popular explanations of the origin of lift based on Bernoulli's principle are misleading. 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 discuss the limits and constraints, which aircraft designers encounter.

Undergraduate students are especially urged to attend!