The reason why planes stay up in the air is not completely understand. On the program QI in 2009 Stephen Fry suggested there are conflicting theories to how planes fly. According to NASA they suggest four forces work together to keep a plane in the air. Lift(air movement and the shape of the wing keeps the plane up.), weight(to counteract the effects of gravity, weight is distributed equally along the plane), thrust(the force to move it along) and drag(airplanes are designed to let drag pass over them, so as not to slow them down). Read more here. The Bernoulli’s principle is the most popular theory, suggesting that if air speeds up then the pressure around it is lowered. The wing generates lift, when the air goes over the top, which then produces an area of low pressure which then lifts the wing. This is generally held to be fact, however nobody really knows why the air goes over the plane in the first place.

David Anderson and Scott Eberherdt, argue that if the popular theory is right, it doesn’t explain what happens if the plane goes upside down, such as when the Red Arrows do loop the loop, which changes the direction of airflow. To explain their theory they look to Newton’s third law of motion, which states that every action has a reaction, so an apple on a table exerts force to stay on the table and the table equals that force to keep the apple up. To create lift the wing must influence the airflow. What the wing does to the air is the action and the plane lifting off is the reaction. If a plane flies upside down, it will just attack the air at a different angle and the wing will respond accordingly.

This thread discusses the aerodynamics of a flying carpet, the person who starts the discussion suggests that if a carpet is rolled up at the end, this will effect the airflow. He is using the Bernoulli principle to show that airflow wouldn’t pass over the rolled up end of a carpet, but if he had used Newton to explain his theory he might have seen that the roll wouldn’t make much difference, as it is the action it’self that would make it fly. Will carpets ever be able to fly? Prof Lakshminarayanan Mahadevan of Harvard University believes he has proved the principles of levitation and in theory he could make a magic carpet. If you create ripples that push against air next to a flat surface like the floor, the ripples create pressure between the carpet and the floor, action and reaction and this can in theory levitate and push the carpet forward.

Writing Tasks
You are a scientist that has just perfected how to levitate a flat object, with added weight. A friend has given you a wonderful old carpet to test your theories out on. You can’t wait to try it and sit on it and it works. Free write(15-20 minutes).

Write about where you go to on your magic carpet and what modern problems you will encounter. Free write( 15-20 minutes)

Write a poem about the art of levitation or flying on a magic carpet and the views that you see you see bellow.

Happy Writing!


3 thoughts on “Day 28 – The Levitating Carpet Prompt

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