Author Topic: Artificial Lift  (Read 866 times)

Offline Small brown dog

  • Dwelling too long on the practicalities of such things can drive you mad.
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Artificial Lift
« on: August 23, 2019, 03:55:26 AM »
It was Tom Sopwith that first coined the term artificial lift. He was not disparaging of the technology far from it, but he was of the age of struts, wire and canvas and that odd wing warping they used to do to achieve roll. He had been just 15 when the Wright Brothers first took to the air and involved in winged flight all throughout the period where aero-electrical flight was the realm of the great naval flying warships. There where a great many advances made in the period of 101 years that old Tom Sopwith lived.

Sydney Camm always refereed to it as artificial and, initially, he didn’t like or trust it and he said so often. “what about when the bugger fails” he once said. ” a wing won’t stop generating lift because the power has been shut off and what about all that heavy  junk required to make it work?” Prior to this he was even more sceptical of the use of EMFEM* in aeroplane design.

EMFEM alone did not and could not have ushered in the new age of the aeroplane. It could make the whole machine lighter making better use of fuel and increasing payload but the payback was that only multi engine layouts could take advantage of it owing to, ironically, the equipments own weight and space and the fact that it took at least two of the most powerful engines of the day to power the technology. There was a sweet spot where power generation, lift, payload and fuel efficiency balanced and slowly began to make an impact on aerial transportation areas that previously had been the domain of the Airship.

In 1921 the Aero Electric Company had demonstrated the use of an electromagnetic air pressure manipulation field generator thankfully more simply called an electric lift generator or ELG. It was a major breakthrough and began to change the face of aviation very quickly especially in the configuration of the so-called coupled thrust unit which got its name owing to the linear configuration of the power, thrust and lift train which was: Engine-Generator-Tcoil/power conditioner-Field Coil Spool. This layout could be reversed for pusher type power configurations.

It was still multiple engine airframes that dominated but as the electric lift generator improved the need for weight compensation reduced and later ELG units would be so powerful that they would generate EMFEM without additional field generation hardware. However, this was in the future and there was a dilemma brewing that could not be ignored.

By the mid 1920’s companies such as De Havilland, Bristol and Avro in the UK and Boeing in the USA were producing twin-engine light and medium bombers with cruising speeds similar to the best fighter aircraft of the day. To add to the problem it was rumoured that designs in Europe were promising similar performances and the 1927 Schneider trophy race even had an Ion powered entry that did rather well.

This inverted disparity between the bomber and interceptor led to the Air Ministry issuing specification F.20/27 for a twin-engine interceptor design capable of modern bomber interception. Power generation was not, and would not be for some time, capable of  producing enough energy for a single engined interceptor that could be expected to reach an interception speed as well as have an endurance in which to find, kill and return to base as well as carry a suitable war load.

Meanwhile Camm had had a change of heart as the technology matured and he began incorporating ELG into his designs. Camm was no fool. If he saw potential he was all for it but he preferred to use technology that had matured both  in practical use and reliability and preferably in someone else's airframe while it was doing so. His initial experience was with so-called hybrid types that got their lift both from electrical lift generation and from conventional albeit short span wings. It was the only way a single engine design could use ELG with the power output of engines then available and by 1927  this configuration was just not powerful enough for an interceptor.

For specification F.20/27 Camm produced the incredibly successful Hawker Hound series of twin-engined fighters. The 1932 Hound MK1 was the first of the true ELG fighter aircraft and the later Mk4b will be forever immortalised for its role in defending Britain in 1940.

By 1940 a new ELG based configuration were entering service seen first in the Supermarine Spectre. The spectre made use of an uncoupled thrust (UCT) unit which unlike its predecessor had remote ELG units that were mounted in winglets. In the the UCT units the engine and generator had become a single unit and the T-Coil/conditioning equipment could be mounted anywhere within the airframe to suit design criteria. Early designs were often pusher types like the Spectre which drove its propeller assembly electrically.

The engine of a UCT unit was immensely powerful and really warrants separate space to relate its own development along with that of the equally impressive super outputs of the next generation of  T-coil/ power conditioners that the UCT fed power to. Such  power units took the development of the propeller driven aircraft to its limit and remained in service long enough to drive Ion thrust tunnels to speeds beyond that of sound.

*EMFEM
ElectroMagnetic Field Effect on Mas
s
The effect is upon the mass enveloped in the field and does not, without further conditioning or focusing equipment, cause any levitation of its own accord.
However, Electro levitation passed into common usage as an all encompassing term for the effect and its lift conditioning.
Its not that its not real but it could be that its not true.

Offline Dr. YoKai

  • Was in High School when mastadons roamed the plains...
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Re: Artificial Lift
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2019, 05:40:39 AM »
 Vary nice alternate history.

Offline elmayerle

  • Its about time there was an Avatar shown here...
  • Über Engineer...at least that is what he tells us.
Re: Artificial Lift
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2019, 08:25:58 AM »
Very interesting start to your alternate history.  I have a feeling there's more to come and I'm looking forward to it.

Offline Old Wombat

  • "We'll see when I've finished whether I'm showing off or simply embarrassing myself."
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Re: Artificial Lift
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2019, 08:38:20 AM »
 :D :smiley:
"This is the Captain. We have a little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and, ah, explode."

Offline Small brown dog

  • Dwelling too long on the practicalities of such things can drive you mad.
  • Woof!
Re: Artificial Lift
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2019, 04:48:30 PM »
The story is extended through most of my images but with the above story coming half way through my output there are some continuity issues to say the least :)
Its not that its not real but it could be that its not true.