The Cambridge Animal Alphabet series celebrates Cambridge's connections with animals through literature, art, science and society. Here, O is for Owl, the researchers using their wing structure to inspire aeroacoustic developments, and the lavish drawings of them found in one of the world's first ornithologies.
At any one time over half a million people are flying far above our heads in modern aircraft. Their lives depend on the performance of the special metals used inside jet engines, where temperatures can reach over 2000˚C. Cambridge researchers will be exhibiting these remarkable materials at this year’s Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition.
The Periodic Table may not sound like a list of ingredients but, for a group of materials scientists, it’s the starting point for designing the perfect chemical make-up of tomorrow’s jet engines.
A newly-designed material, which mimics the wing structure of owls, could help make wind turbines, computer fans and even planes much quieter. Early wind tunnel tests of the coating have shown a substantial reduction in noise without any noticeable effect on aerodynamics.
A Cambridge University study suggests that offshore wind farms could be 100 per cent more efficient in terms of energy payback if manufacturers embraced new methods for making the structures that support the turbines.