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A Brief History of Aerodynamics Aerodynamics has come to play a large role in society, the military, sports and space

travel. We marvel at the ongoing developments in this ever-emerging industry. However, a brief look at the history of aerodynamics reveals how the study of forces and the resulting motion of objects through the air have intrigued man since early times. Specifically, aerodynamics is the branch of dynamics that concentrates on the study of the motion of air; a sub-field of fluid and gas dynamics. Early Roots The earliest recorded written records relating to aerodynamics are attributed to Aristotle in the 2nd century B.C. and more practical theories were later developed by Archimedes in the 3rd century B.C. The theory of aerodynamic continuity assumption had its first roots in Aristotles Treatise on the Heavens. Archimedes was the first person to state that a fluid could be deployed as a continuum. Archimedes is also attributed with the discovery that fluid flow was driven by a pressure gradient within the fluid. The findings of Archimedes would prove to be fundamental to fluid flow and aerodynamics. The early interest and work of these two great scientists demonstrates their true and creative genius. These pursuits did not exactly come at a point in time when the general population was concerned with aerodynamics. In 1488, Leonardo da Vinci designed a flying machine, known as an ornithopter, with flapping wings like a bird. Da Vincis design was first presented in his Codex on the Flight of Birds in 1505. Aerios is taken from Greek, meaning air while dynamis means force, hence aerodynamics. Many of the biggest advancements occurred in the 18th century but the release of Isaac Newtons Principia in 1687, perfectly set the stage for growth in the study. Newtons work is regarded as the first complete theoretical approach to understanding mechanical phenomena. Newtons second law, regarding the conservation of momentum, became one of three fundamental physical principles later utilised to obtain the all-important Euler equations and the Navier-Stokes equations. There has never been much doubt that Newton was ahead of his time but his work in these fields was impressive and critical to the advancement of the science. The Boom in the 18th Century

The 18th century was a period that saw tremendous advances in the science of many of the principles of aerodynamics. Daniel Bernoulli was a Dutch-Swiss mathematician who published his work in Hydrodynamics in 1738. In this work, Bernoulli depicted the relationship between pressure and velocity. Today, his theory is known as Bernoullis principle. His premise was that the pressure of flowing fluid decreases as its velocity increases. This was a transitional discovery in the field of fluid dynamics. Bernoullis theory was first quantified by Leonhard Euler is a formula known as Bernoullis Equation. The equation relates the pressure, density, and velocity at two points along a streamline within a flowing fluid. Bernoullis Equation does not deal with the compressibility of the fluid and the effects of gravity and viscous forces on the flow. Euler would later publish another important work depicting the Euler Equations in 1757. The Euler Equations incorporated the effects of viscosity. The Euler Equations were extended in the Navier-Stokes equations of the late 19th century. George Cayley developed the concept of the first fixed-wing aircraft in 1799. His invention marked the culmination of centuries of man trying to find was to achieve heavier than air flight. Cayleys most significant achievement was identifying the four fundamental forces of flight. Lift Thrust Drag Weight

Cayley developed reasonable predictions of the thrust needed to power flight in conjunction with the development of high-lift, low-drag airfoils paved the way for the first powered flight. Wilbur and Orville Wright On December 17, 19043, Wilbur and Orville Wright successfully flew the first powered aircraft. Today when we take air travel for granted, it is difficult to imagine the awe that the Wright Brothers inspired around the globe. The successful flight of the Kitty Hawk led to more organised collaborations between aviators in advancing the science of aerodynamics and fuel powered flight.

Interestingly, a study of early aerodynamics reveals that as the theory of the science evolved, the practical applications soon followed. Bernoullis work validated incompressible, inviscid flow. Eulers work advanced Bernoullis early work to develop the principle of compressible flow regime. Work by Navier-Stokes advanced Eulers work to account for viscous effects. As the first flights took place, teams developed various theories about how to connect flow circulation to lift. During this important era, Ludwig Prandt established himself as one of the primary sources to investigate boundary layers. We are still advancing the science of aerodynamics today. Today, there are many important aspects to what we assume is an easy transportation mode.