Wednesday, May 21, 2014

New method for propulsion in fluids | MIT News Office

New method for propulsion in fluids | MIT News Office: The effect itself is surprisingly simple, Peacock explains: “By virtue of heating or cooling the surface of an object, you change the density of any fluid next to that surface.” In the valley winds previously considered, the object was either a glacier or a valley wall heated by the sun, and the fluid was the air passing over it; in this case, it’s the solid wedge and its surrounding water.
The changed density of the fluid generates a flow over the surface, Peacock says, adding, “That flow then creates unbalanced forces, with lower pressure on one side, and higher on the other” — an imbalance that propels the object from the higher pressure toward the lower.

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