NASA’s New Wing

Feb. 6, 2019

I just received a great media notice advising that NASA is working on a new composite wing that will save airlines a buncha money.

Wow! I hope they are totally successful.

I read the entire report, and understood much of it. OTOH, NASA seems to have trouble explaining science to people who have only BS degrees in English and economics, and I’m one of them.

The NASA report startled me greatly in one sentence which said “…with the upper skin optimized for tension and the lower skin for compression.”

I did not understand that at all.

In flight, wing tips still bend up, rather than down, don’t they? Seems to me that the upper surface of wing therefore is being compressed, and the lower is under tension.

When I run into anything technical that I can’t understand, I call my old college frat brother, Dr. Bill Vorus. Much of his work has been in marine engineering, rather than aviation, but that means he has mastered fluids, laminar flow, drag, and danged near everything else. He has been flown overseas, then lifted by helicopter to giant ships that had problems. He solved them.

Dr. Bill also read the report, and he, too, wonders if NASA might have made a mistake about tension on top of the wing and compression on the lower.

We both hope that the new wing works. The future needs—and will get—less expensive travel.

Thanks, NASA.