a holiday, no work session was scheduled for this day.
Yet, students who were in
town arrived at 1 pm
to meet Hall Train. Four students and the advisors
gathered around Hall as he talked about various things
his love of prehistoric life and his involvement with
projects. It was a short day and the students departed
about 3 pm, but it was a good experience for all who
the team members arrived earlier than usual to prepare
for a meeting with the main design
a few team members presented to the engineers what
had been covered and done over the past couple
showed what we had learned and concluded with the
fruits of our
experimentation, which earned smiles all around.
Then the team members were able to listen to some of
by the engineers. These talks were quite interesting
and informative, though some of the material was
The team was then able to speak with some of the
engineers during the lunch period before returning
to its work
area. There, the team members broke into groups to
the morning meeting and come up with questions to
ask some of the experts, who will be available later.
questions included ambiguities about the pterosaur’s
structure, appearance, and behavior. After these
questions were compiled and sorted, the team broke
into two groups
to begin designing a six-foot glider model of the
pterosaur. This activity will be continued tomorrow.
started out with a few morning visitors to hold a Q+A
session with the students. Some
included paleontologists Chris Bennett and Jim
Cunningham, aeronautical engineers John McMasters and
animators/paleo-artists John Conway and Hall Train,
as well as a few Ph.D. students.
The session started out with a miniature debate
between Jim Cunningham and Chris Bennett on the
of the wing as well as the chord length (i.e. "broad
wing" membrane vs. "narrow wing" membrane). Then, Chris
Bennett proceeded to discuss actinofibrils. He presented his theory that
if the actinofibrils
were on the outer area of the cwing, it was because they were made of
keratin (what fingernails are made of). This would prevent the decrease
area of the wing when stretching due to tension. All the engineers finally
session by discussing if whether the pterosaur slapped water to take
off, or simply ran.
After lunch, membrane design specialist Peter Heppel arrived to make
a demonstration of the proper way to make joints with a material called
and then asked the team to split up into groups and experiment on our
own. He then
proceeded to use the same material, rip-stop polyester, as a membrane
to design a wing of a pterosaur; he used double-sided tape to produce
and camber, and it generated lift easily.
Thursday was a lot of fun. We all came in at 10 am,
as always, and had a quick meeting.
Then we all wrote a list of which design teams
want to be on. There were three design teams to choose from. One design
team was the stable glider team. They make sure that the glider has
a stable design.
Another team was the membrane team. They have to design and build the
membrane for the wing. The final team was the engineering
support team, which supports
the other two teams and makes sure that all the engineering challenges
were solved and the design is integrated. After we were all divided
we met with
our team and decided on our plan of action. We made a list of what
we knew about our subject, what we needed to know,
problems we thought we
and any other miscellaneous items we thought we would need. Then we
all had a meeting in the conference room and presented
the information about
the other teams. Everybody was questioned by the other team members,
Axel, Arthur, Pey-Jiun, and Bryan. After taking
their suggestions to heart we
stopped for lunch.
Then we started designing for our own parts. The membrane group talked
to Peter Heppel, our resident membrane expert, and he taught them all
about the theory
behind making membranes and how to make the most effective membrane
pterosaur. The stable glider group started designing and building their
glider. The engineering
group had a discussion about various problems that they would face
and how to solve them. At the end of the day we all
met again in the conference
discussed the timeline for the project.
started the day just like any other, with everyone
work at 10:00 and others already
One of the stable glider teams
their glider but it still wasn’t ready to fly because it hadn’t
been trimmed yet. The Membrane team completed their first wing
made out of a membrane
with an airfoil shape. Meanwhile, the mechanical support started
building wing attachment mechanisms and landing gear to protect
the gliders from getting
destroyed due to crashing.