Teen biz flies high. (Physical News).
Ornithopter Technologies' 50-centimeter (20-inch)-wide models are made of balsa wood and tissue paper, and powered by a twisted rubber band. You toss the ornithopter into the air--nose up--to make it fly. As the rubber band untwists, it forces the wings to flap up and down. Air exerts a normal (perpendicular) force on the wings that lifts the ornithopter up to 90 meters (300 feet) while propelling it forward.
By comparison, a real plane's thrust (forward motion) comes from its engine. The plane's lift (upward force) comes from wings designed as airfoils--surfaces curved so that air flows faster over the top than the bottom. Fast-moving air exerts less pressure (pushing force) than slow-moving air, so less pressure pushes above a plane's wing than below it. This creates an upward force on the wing, lifting the plane.
Since both Frawley and Getz leave for different colleges next year, their business plans are up in the air. "We've pretty much taken over my family's basement," Frawley says. "No way we'd be able to run this out of dorm rooms."
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|Title Annotation:||Sean Frawley and Dan Getz create Ornithopter Technologies|
|Date:||Sep 27, 2002|
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