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Futuristic Supersonic Biplane Could Break The Sound Barrier

For more than 27 years, the Concorde carried its passengers with luxury from New York to Paris in approximate 3 and a half hours. Though the plane was very fast, it couldn’t run further. Due to its expensive tickets, high fuel costs, limited seating and especially noise disruption from the jet’s sonic boom, people lost interest traveling in it. Therefore, it finally retired from service on November 26, 2003. But, according to an MIT researcher, future supersonic biplane like Concorde may fly again with a lot less sound and less travel cost.


According to the assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics, Qiqi Wang, one winged supersonic biplane to a side make lots of sound. But, if it’s a two winged supersonic biplane to a side, then it would create less sound. Wang and his colleagues Rui Hu, a postdoc in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and Antony Jameson, a professor of engineering at Stanford University, have shown through a computer model that a modified biplane can produce significantly less drag than a conventional single-wing aircraft at supersonic cruise speeds.

“A modified biplane can produce significantly less drag than a single-wing aircraft at supersonic cruise speeds, meaning it would need less fuel and produce less of a sonic boom. The sonic boom is really the shock waves created by the supersonic airplanes, propagated to the ground,” Wang says. “It’s like hearing gunfire. It’s so annoying that supersonic jets were not allowed to fly over land.”

With Wang’s design, a jet with two wings: one positioned above the other would cancel out the shock waves produced from either wing alone. However, the two wings create a very narrow channel through which only a limited amount of air can flow. When transitioning to supersonic speeds, the channel might essentially ‘choke,’ creating incredible drag. By bumping out the top edge of the higher wing, and the bottom edge of the lower wing, the model showed that the plane would be able able to fly at supersonic speeds, with half the drag of conventional supersonic jets like Concorde. To know more, click here.

Source : MIT

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