by Staff Writers
Princeton, N.J. (UPI) Sep 30, 2011
A miniature "magic carpet" made of flexible conductive plastic has taken "flight" in a U.S. laboratory, researchers said.
In the Princeton University study reported in Applied Physics Letters, the prototype 4-inch sheet was said to move at speeds of almost half an inch per second.
Improvements to the design, driven by ripples or waves of electrical current driving thin pockets of air from front to rear underneath, could increase that to as much as 3 feet per second, researchers said.
"What was difficult was controlling the precise behavior of the sheet as it deformed at high frequencies," research leader James Sturm told the BBC.
The authors of the published study have carefully kept the word "flying" in quotation marks, since the device has more in common with a hovercraft than an airplane.
"It has to keep close to the ground," graduate student Noah Jafferis, who created the device, said, "because the air is then trapped between the sheet and the ground. As the waves move along the sheet it basically pumps the air out the back."
Aerospace News at SpaceMart.com
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China opposes EU's 'unilateral' airline tax plan
Beijing (AFP) Sept 28, 2011
China on Wednesday criticised European Union plans to charge airlines for carbon emissions, accusing it of "unilaterally" introducing the new tax. Airlines, which contribute 3.0 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, will be included in the EU's carbon trading market on January 1. China has said it fears its aviation sector will have to pay an additional 800 million yuan (about $125 ... read more
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