Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Journal articles

The evolution of airplanes

Abstract : 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. (C) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC.
Document type :
Journal articles
Complete list of metadatas

https://hal.insa-toulouse.fr/hal-01850759
Contributor : Insa Toulouse Scd <>
Submitted on : Friday, July 27, 2018 - 5:08:15 PM
Last modification on : Friday, January 10, 2020 - 9:09:32 PM

Links full text

Identifiers

Citation

Adrian Bejan, J. D. Charles, Sylvie Lorente. The evolution of airplanes. Journal of Applied Physics, American Institute of Physics, 2014, 116 (4), pp.044901. ⟨10.1063/1.4886855⟩. ⟨hal-01850759⟩

Share

Metrics

Record views

17