Principles of Propulsion of Sailing Vessels (SAIL)

Duration: 01.01.1999 – 31.12.2001 (24 months)

Coordination: Instituto Superior Técnico

Funding Entity: Ministry for Science and Tech

To promote the difusion among young students of basic cientific methods, relating to Naval Architecture. The aerodynamics of sails is a fascinating subject to young students. Using a small dismountable wind tunnel made in acrylic, a class witnesses the behaviour of sails, and uses a simple fit-up of dynamometers and pitots tubes to collect measurements. By varying the bow of the model, the wind blows from diverse quadrants and with different speeds. The students annotate the wind speed and the resulting lift and drag, for latter graphical depiction. The study of the great sail and of the genoa are conducted in isolation from each other, and later are compared with the one the combination of both, overlapping each other to show a measurable Venturi effect. The spinnaker demonstrates the round sails of the vessels, and is compared with the Latin sails (genoa and great sail), as in the Portuguese caravels. Disciplines: Physical and Chemical Sciences and Lab Technologies. Expected products: reports of the aerodynamics of sails in models of boats, to be stored in the Library of the School, for example for future use in practical projects of other students. Exposition: One expects that the accomplishment of the experiences in open forecourts will stimulate the student curiosity, preparing the young students to adhere to the projects. The reports of these experiences make possible for example the estimate of the speed and adornamento of a model to the sail, suggesting small projects of naval architecture. With this set of experiences, one expects that a fraction of the involved students develop creative projects of an empirical nature, to be presented in the a national Forum of Science in The Schools, and also as a side-show during a congress of Naval Engineering. The study of local traditional boats or wind-surf boards are some of the many possibilities. The Autonomous Section of Naval Engineering of the IST will assist the people involved in these projects, and will give them exposition in media. The professor will receive a list of questions for the students, and written suggestions for the conception of the reports that the students write in the end. These elements are entirely subjected to the criteria of the teacher, being him authorised to distribute them or to modify its parameters of evaluation. Being these experimental proposals aiming to a widened spectre of pupils, different professors will choose different techniques of evaluation. From the point of view of the IST, the groups will be observed as the experimental works is carried over, and the reports will be used as progress reports. Signs of reactions to the functional aspects of the materials will be watched for (even the esthetical ones, given the influence they could have on very young students). With the generalisation of these programs to other schools, IST expects to observe effects in the pupils submitting for the Faculty degree.

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