Aerospace Engineering Units
Before we move on any further, it is probably important to talk about some customs of the aerospace world. In the aviation world, travel distance are measured in nautical miles and speed is measured in knots. 1 nautical mile (nm) = 1.15 miles and 1 knot = 1.15 mph. This system is developed such at 1 degree of Earth’s longitudinal length is equals to 60 nautical miles. For space, we sometime use AU, Astronautical Unit, 149.6E9 m, distance between Earth and Sun. In engineering, we generally use Imperial system for aviation and Metric for space. But both works and I prefer metric. Remember the standard units when calculating: use seconds for time, meter or feet for distance, m/s or fps for speed (60 mph = 88 fps), kg or slugs for mass, Newtons or pounds for force, Kelvins (+273.15 C) or Rankine (+459.67 F) for absolute temperature.
Fundamental Forces of Flight
In aeronautics, there are four fundamental forces that act upon the aircraft during inner-atmospheric flight. The four forces are:lift, weight, thrust and drag. The picture below show a graphical representation of the forces.
*NOTE: these four forces only apply within a planet’s atmosphere, there is de facto no lift, weight or drag in space due to the absent of a working fluid and the insufficient amount of gravity. Not to say there’s no gravity in empty space, but it is just not enough to make a rocket go down like how it would near a planet. Continue reading →
In the engineering world, we often gather lots of data that we need to store and display in a spreadsheet format. Microsoft’s Excel is probably the most popular spreadsheet format there are out there. In order to read and write to an excel file from Java, we need the Apache POI library. The POI library actually handle all kinds of Microsoft document format, however, we will only deal with Excel files today.
In this section, we are going to go over the basic parts of an aircraft and their basic functions. We are also going to discuss the four fundamental forces in flight and also the parameters that affect flight conditions.
It is probably a good idea to first learn about the history of Aerospace Engineering. What is it that make this discipline of engineering so special? Why is it so expensive? If you have ever looked into Wikipedia, you will probably found that aerospace engineering is actually spitted into two major sub-disciplines. They are aeronautics and astronautics. Continue reading →
Before beginning the first section of Introduction to Aerospace Engineering, I would like to start by thanking Professor Terry Hart of Lehigh University for being such a great teacher that make engineering class fun and interesting again. His stories of flying fighter jets in the Air Force and the Space Shuttle with NASA is just fascinating and kept me going in this very difficult Junior Spring semester. I really like the way how he have equation sheets and notes all prepared for student to open up and learn. Hoepfully I don’t do too bad of a job trying to recite what I learned here, lol.
My first contact with robotics is probably the Lego Mindstorm kit that I have played with at a 2004 Youth IT Camp at Chinese University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, which later, my mother bought my brother and I a set to play with back home. Now that I got into Arduino a bit, maybe it’s time to see if I can take up my robotic skills up a level. So I decided to build a basic robotic car, dual motor, to learn how to use the L298 Dual H-Bridge Motor Driver.