Wearing special glasses or using hand-made, cereal-box viewers, nearly 2,000 young Iowans participated in 4-H solar eclipse day camps across Iowa, including Boone, where ISU Extension and Outreach 4-H Youth Development teamed up with Sacred Heart School.
This article was published on Iowa State University’s Extension and Outreach website by Cayla Taylor and Bonnie Dalager. Click here to read the entire article.
AMES, Iowa – Iowa State University Extension and Outreach offered over 75 solar eclipse day camps across Iowa. The Iowa 4-H Youth Development program, county extension offices, and partner organizations came together to provide high quality science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education opportunities to youth for the 2017 solar eclipse.
On Aug. 21 nearly 2,000 young Iowans were able to experience a near-total solar eclipse at a local 4-H day camp, a rare opportunity to experience an interesting and scientifically significant event.
The youth participants took part in a wide variety of educational activities related to solar eclipses, such as learning how eclipses work and making pinhole viewers for safe eclipse viewing. Technology was also used to feature special speakers highlighting STEM career opportunities.
This program was made possible thanks to a partnership between the Iowa 4-H Youth Development program and the Iowa Space Grant Consortium.
“We are excited to have had the opportunity to offer this program state-wide. The participants were enthusiastic about these educational activities,” said Cayla Taylor, ISU Extension and Outreach 4-H educational opportunities manager. “This was a great opportunity to encourage young people in to explore the world around them, and get excited about potential future opportunities in STEM fields.”
To learn more about county 4-H, contact a county ISU Extension and Outreach office, or visit the 4-H website, www.extension.iastate.edu/4h. For information on 4-H aerospace projects and events, visit the project page at www.extension.iastate.edu/4h/projects/aerospace.
AMES, Iowa – Anupam Sharma pulled an accordion folder from the bookshelf above his Iowa State University desk. Inside was the carefully collected and preserved wing of a short-eared owl.
Here, he said, could be some clues for developing ultraquiet aircraft and wind turbines.
“The owl is almost completely silent in flight,” said Sharma, an Iowa State assistant professor of aerospace engineering and Walter W. Wilson Faculty Fellow who started working in aeroacoustics – the noise associated with air flow – during graduate school and a previous position at GE. “Owls are not only silent in gliding flight, but also in flapping flight, which is amazing.”
And then Sharma picked up the wing (a specimen collected by Iowa State avian ecologist Stephen Dinsmore) and pointed out the three-part “owl hush kit” that’s responsible for silent flight.
First, at the leading edge of the wing there are small, fine, comb-like structures. Second, all the feathers at the trailing edge of the wing end in a pliable and porous fringe. And third, there’s a downy coat on the flight feathers. (See Figure 1, below.)
To learn exactly how that hush kit manipulates air flow, turbulence and pressure to produce silent flight, Sharma is scanning owl wing specimens, creating digital models and running multi-day
simulations that use more than 16,000 processers provided by one of the country’s top-ranked supercomputing facilities at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois. He and his colleagues hope their studies will produce practical ideas for making ultraquiet aircraft and wind turbines.
There have been previous studies of owl wings and silent flight. The U.S. military has also looked at owl flight for ideas for stealth aircraft.
But, Sharma said few have taken a high-powered computational approach to the studies.
“We can get into details that there is no way you can study with experiments,” Sharma said.
Sharma reported some of his numerical investigations earlier this year in Denver during the Aeroacoustics Meeting of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Sharma also described how the downy coat of owl wings inspired his collaborators at Virginia Tech to design model airfoils (the curved shape of an aircraft wing) with a regular series of small, thin “finlets” and canopies near the trailing edge of the blade and running parallel to the airflow. William Devenport, a Virginia Tech professor of aerospace and ocean engineering and director of the university’s Stability Wind Tunnel, led the experiments in Virginia.
Both research teams compared the performance of the owl-inspired airfoils to a standard, flat-surfaced airfoil.
Sharma said the computer simulations showed the owl-inspired airfoils substantially reduced the unsteady pressure on the back end of the blade surface. And, the researchers found that the sound radiated by the owl-inspired design was reduced by up to 5 decibels over a wide frequency range. This noise reduction was observed without sacrificing aerodynamic performance.
Sharma said the experiments performed by the Virginia Tech researchers agreed with the simulations. The researchers found the owl-inspired designs reduced noise and they also demonstrated that fence spacing on the airfoil is an important design parameter.
The National Science Foundation is supporting Sharma’s studies with a five-year, $500,000 CAREER grant, the foundation’s most prestigious award for early career faculty. The Iowa Space Grant Consortium has also supported the research with a $100,000 grant. And the National Science Foundation and the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility are supporting computer time for the studies.
In addition to Sharma, the grants are supporting the research of three Iowa State students in aerospace engineering: Andrew Bodling and Bharat Agrawal, doctoral students; and Vishal Vijay, a master’s student.
A 2016 paper by Sharma’s team and published in the International Journal of Aeroacoustics notes that tests of airfoils with a serrated leading edge inspired by owl wings found the serrations substantially reduced airfoil noise. The paper also established the physical mechanisms that caused the noise reduction. (See Figure 2, below.)
All of the simulations, tests and data applying the owl’s hush kit to airfoils and wind turbine blades doesn’t mean next-generation aircraft or wind turbines will look like owl wings.
“Our approach is bio-inspired as opposed to bio-mimicry,” Sharma said. “Our designs won’t look like owl wings. We’re studying the physical mechanisms behind the owl’s silent flight. Then we’re taking simplified geometries inspired by the owl wings and applying those to aircraft wings, rotor blades of jet engines and wind turbines.”
Sharma has used 3-D printing to quickly develop models to test various ideas and geometries.
So far, the studies are telling him the owl has potential to help engineers develop ultraquiet flight and wind energy, although applications might start at smaller scales and low speeds, such as drones or unmanned aerial vehicles.
After that, Sharma wrote in a project summary, “The results of this research could have an impact on the design of silent air vehicles with application in national defense, in commerce and in transportation.”
A team of students and faculty from the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium at New Mexico State University will launch a high-altitude balloon on Monday, Aug. 21, as part of a nationwide, NASA-sponsored project to live-stream aerial video footage of the “Great American Eclipse.”
The team will launch the roughly 8-foot-tall, helium-filled balloon, which will carry a video camera and other equipment to an altitude of up to 100,000 feet, at approximately 11 a.m. at the Homestead National Monument of America in Beatrice, Nebraska. Live footage from the camera will be available for public viewing on a NASA sponsored website at http://eclipse.stream.live/.
On August 21, the Iowa Space Grant Consortium and Iowa 4-H will offer Solar Eclipse Day Camps throughout every county in Iowa. At 1:00 pm on the 21st, all of the students at the camps will experience the solar eclipse.
Students, grades 4-6 will participate in science activities, games, and curriculum in the morning in anticipation of the solar eclipse. It will be a great educational opportunity as students from all 99 counties learn about science and watch the eclipse together.
The Iowa Space Grant Consortium has announced a new program called Collaborative Programs. Formerly known as “Iowa-Wide,” Collaborative Programs will create cooperative efforts that target one or more of these three focus areas: precollege, informal education, or higher education.
Projects can include one or more affiliates (http://www.iaspacegrant.org/affiliates) and must include at least one core institution as a partner: Drake, Iowa State, Iowa, and Northern Iowa.