The evolution of airplanes
Repository Usage Stats
The prevailing view is that we cannot witness biological evolution because it occurred on a time scale immensely greater than our lifetime. Here, we show that we can witness evolution in our lifetime by watching the evolution of the flying human-and-machine species: the airplane. We document this evolution, and we also predict it based on a physics principle: the constructal law. We show that the airplanes must obey theoretical allometric rules that unite them with the birds and other animals. For example, the larger airplanes are faster, more efficient as vehicles, and have greater range. The engine mass is proportional to the body size: this scaling is analogous to animal design, where the mass of the motive organs (muscle, heart, lung) is proportional to the body size. Large or small, airplanes exhibit a proportionality between wing span and fuselage length, and between fuel load and body size. The animal-design counterparts of these features are evident. The view that emerges is that the evolution phenomenon is broader than biological evolution. The evolution of technology, river basins, and animal design is one phenomenon, and it belongs in physics. © 2014 AIP Publishing LLC.
Published Version (Please cite this version)10.1063/1.4886855
Publication InfoBejan, A; Charles, JD; & Lorente, S (2014). The evolution of airplanes. Journal of Applied Physics, 116(4). 10.1063/1.4886855. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/8957.
This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.
More InfoShow full item record
J.A. Jones Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Professor Bejan was awarded the Benjamin Franklin Medal 2018 and the Humboldt Research Award 2019. His research covers engineering science and applied physics: thermodynamics, heat transfer, convection, design, and evolution in nature. He is ranked among the top 0.01% of the most cited and impactful world scientists (and top 10 in Engineering world wide) in the 2019 citations impact database created by Stanford University’s John Ioannidis, in <a href="https://urldefen