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It seems a mere aesthetic curiosity, but the truth is that after the aircraft rounded windows there is a critical reason for structural safety allows us to fly a lot safer.
The skies over Calcutta exploded. The May 2, 1953, the city lived the typical turbulence monsoon time when a fireball lit up the clouds. All passengers and crew were killed Comet G-ALYV. Unfortunately, the problem was blamed on a setback by the weather and the case was closed. But when the next year two aircraft of the same model, the old DH.106 Comet, disintegrated in the sky unexplained , the entire fleet of aircraft, “de Havilland” froze. Time later knew where the problem was: in the material fatigue. Unbearable fatigue, in the extreme for one small detail of the fuselage: the square corners of the windows aircraft.
The square curse of aircraft windows
Luckily there are not too many cases such as the Comet DH.106. This was the first jet airplane model that realized a commercial flight. Those were the early days of civil aviation as we know it today. And the terrible accident that served to thoroughly revise the entire industry failure occurred . Which was? The culprit had, as noted later, the windows of the Comet. Back then nobody understood fully the terrible fatigue posed by cycles of compression and decompression of the fuselage. And, of course, no one imagined that the sharp corners in the windows of the aircraft could cause such structural failure.
The DH.106 Comet was the first model airplane to reaction that made a commercial flight In fact, the decision to put square windows in the Comet was a purely cosmetic issue. However, in the investigation it become clear to what extent these details had damaged the fuselage. DH.106 collect the remains of disintegrated in 1954 it was incredibly difficult. Mount the macabre puzzle was further complicated . But, at least, it served to see for sure where the fault was. By then the other companies and learned from the mistakes made by de Havilland and put their own prototypes in heaven. Today, none of the windows of the cabin has square corners, but rounded. And that allows us to fly a lot safer.
A material does not like corners
If you wonder why the sharp corners are more likely to suffer from fatigue the answer is simple. In some way. Actually we’ve all seen a “hub tensions.” It is well known to a point irregular geometry of any object (elastic solid). These points tend to “collect” almost all forces in different directions . By contrast, a uniform surface tends to distribute these forces, so that the entire structure suffers much less. But, as mentioned, the corners are stress concentrators, which causes small cracks arise sometimes invisible. But of course, when we talk about a machine subject to such forces, those cracks are sentenced to catastrophe.
A fissure becomes a crack and a crack in a hole. The hole destroys the integrity of the fuselage, causing an explosive decompression of the cabin and the disintegration of the apparatus. With everything that’s inside. This basically is what happened with Comet DH.106. Also, although not because of the windows, it has happened with other aircraft, whose integrity was compromised because of other cracks caused by various reasons. But not only affects airplanes, of course.
The structural mechanics and knowledge about fatigue of materials peaked in the First World War The material fatigue and stress points are the bane of any engineer worth his salt. Since prostheses to construction, engineers are trained to literally get 100% reliable structures (if this is possible). To do so, all materials must be monitored from a very strict view physicist and mathematician . Unfortunately, to reach the point of security we have today many people have been killed.
The structural mechanics and knowledge about fatigue of materials peaked during World War II. From that moment on why a comprehensive study of fatigue, forms and composition of the structures was undertaken. What initially aimed to create war machines more reliable now it has spawned an aviation and automotive safer . Today the material still not liking the corners, of course. But at least we know how to handle it without regret.
December 17, 2015
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