Tag Archives: Stanford

Wild brainstorming (about sleep deprivation)

One of the exercises of the online course I took, A Crash Course on Creative Thinking, was related to brainstorming. Within groups we were supposed to tackle the problem of sleep deprivation, “Not getting enough sleep”.

Those who know me are aware that I tend to sleep between 4 and 6 hours on week days, rarely more, thus I could easily relate to the topic of the exercise, but I had never seen it like a problem. It is more like I viewed sleeping time as time not dedicated to doing something else, to accumulating experiences…

The thing I liked more about the exercise was the challenge posed by the teacher, Tina Seelig, “your team should submit at least 100 solutions for the problem you are solving”. So there we were, having to come up not with few solutions to a problem we didn’t even see as a problem but having to provide at least 100 solutions to it! I loved it.

In the course Technology Entrepreneurship we had done an exercise to facilitate brainstorming by intentionally looking for the worst business ideas. Coming up with the wildest ideas, ideas that we knew would not work. In this same course on creativity we had to produce a video connecting and combining different objects to create a new sport (see the video here). So with these ideas, looking for the wildest, even worst ideas, connecting and combining them, we launched ourselves into the brainstorming…

Setting the target in 100, a wild absurdly high number, made it even easier than if we had been asked for 10 solutions, which would have probably led ourselves directly into evaluating ideas as they came in order to keep only the best ones.

See the result in the following Prezi prepared by Luis, one of the team members:

Fruitful day, good night sleep

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Filed under Education

Wooden aircraft, cloth wings and pressure

Most of you, the readers of this blog, probably know that an airplane flies due to the difference in pressure between the upper (extrados) and lower (intrados) sides of its wing. This difference in pressure is due to the difference velocity of the airflow around both sides of the wing as you may see in the picture below:

Airflow around an airfoil (image from the Wikipedia, by Kraainnest).

As the speed above the wing is much higher, the difference in the pressure is mainly due to the lower pressure in the extrados. This can be seen in the following picture:

Pressure coefficient around an airfoil (by the Aircraft Aerodynamics and Design Group, Stanford University).

However, how could we see that in a real flight?

In commercial planes, of which wing skin is made of aluminium alloys this is not easily seen.

Two weeks ago, after my flight lesson was finished, I sat at the back of the plane to come back to Toulouse while my colleague had his lesson. It was then that I saw the image I captured in the following picture:

Wing extrados on air.

The aircraft we fly in our training lessons is a small Robin DR 400; a wooden aircraft of which wing skins are made of cloth. Not any cloth, but a type of polyester (PET) commonly used to build sailcloth, produced by Dupont and named Dacron. The surface is then lacquered with a polyurethane paint.

Robin DR 400 140

The air within the wing is at a higher pressure than the air in the extrados, and you can see how it expands and pushes up the cloth skin of the wing as you can see in the picture above.

You may see below the same wing on ground. Though the picture is of a lower quality, you can see that in this case the wing doesn’t look “inflated”.

Wing extrados on ground.


Filed under Aerospace & Defence, Education