How Planes Fly

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Come explore the answers to these and other curiosities you may have!



Try this experiment!






What You Need

A sheet of paper

Your family's hair dryer

Firmly hold the very end of the paper in one hand.With other hand, blow the hair dryer straight over the top surface of the paper.

What happened?

CONGRATULATIONS! You created LIFT. The fast moving air from the hair dryer made the paper rise because the air pressure on the top of the paper was less than the air pressure below the paper.

The faster the moving air, the lower the air pressure.



Daniel Bernoulli



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What is lift?



is what makes a plane take off the ground. Lift is the upward pressure or force on a plane that lifts the plane. That means that for a plane to lift off the ground the pressure pushing up has to be greater than the weight of the plane and all inside it (including you) that is pushing down and keeping you and the plane on the ground. [ >> ?'s ]

How is lift created?



An airplane's wings have a special shape to them - with a curved top surface and a fairly flat bottom surface. When a plane moves faster and faster down the runway the air rushes over and under the airplane's wings. Because of the wing's shape, the air moving over the curved top of the wing has further to go (than the air under the wing) so it has to move faster and gets spread out more thinly.


Lift = Pressure bottom - Pressure top



Thin air means low pressure. When you have lower pressure pushing down on the top of the wing than the pressure underneath pushing up, you have LIFT. The faster the plane moves forward the greater the lift. Up you go!
[ >> ?'s ]



Mr. Bernoulli and airplane wings & things

Ever here of Bernoulli's Principle? Daniel Bernoulli back in the 1700's made many experiments with fluids. Air is a fluid. In his experiments he proved that the pressure in a fluid (in our example - air) decreases as the speed of the fluid (air) increases! This fact became the basic principle that explains the lift created from an airplane's wings - air moves faster on the top of the wing compared to the air moving under the wing. LIFT.

Paint sprayers and lawn mower engine carburetors work because of the Bernoulli's principle, also. Fast moving air speeds up across the spray nozzle or the fuel nozzle of a gasoline engine carburetor, (called the "venturi") because of the nozzle's shape. The fast moving air has a slightly lower air pressure than the air around the paint or gasoline, thus drawing up either the paint or gasoline and spraying it out with the fast moving air. Easy! [ >> ?'s ]





 Jet engines, airplanes and Netwon's third law




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