Researchers have discovered new aerodynamic effects that influence the flight of paper airplanes based on their center of inertia. These results could lead to the design of new, more stable and hovering small flying devices.
Moving the center of inertia back and forth
A new study published in the Journal of Fluid Mechanics could change the way drones and other small flying devices are designed. A team of New York University researchers set out to understand the aerodynamic principles of paper airplanes , one of the simplest yet little-studied forms of flight.
They found that the operation of paper planes was very different from conventional planes and that there is no mathematical model that can predict their behavior. The researchers therefore set up their own experiment with paper planes, by moving the center of inertia back and forth using adhesive copper tape . They also proceeded in a similar way with plates thrown in water.
Optimal placement of the center of inertia allows you to hover
If the center of inertia is around the middle of the wing, the aircraft behaves erratically. Placed too close to the edge of the wing, and the aircraft dives. Between the two is a point of balance where aerodynamic forces lower the wing when the aircraft tries to climb, and raise it when it tries to descend. He manages to hover.
The results allowed them to create a “flight simulator” capable of predicting the movements of these objects. The researchers clarified that this does not apply to conventional aircraft wings , but only thin, flat wings. This could allow the creation of small flying devices, such as drones, which do not need a stabilizer or other additional aerodynamic surfaces.