Aircraft Engineering TH E MONTHLY ORGAN OF THE AERONAUTICAL ENGINEERING PROFESSION VOL XXIV No 286 DECEMBER 1952 The Case in Point Keonoclasm NGINEERS tending perhaps to be rather conservative beings it It will no doubt by now have become apparent to the reader that this somewhat vague philosophizing has been engendered by the is no bad thing for one of their number from time to time to rise delayed reply of M R J. SHAPIRO in this issue to the still more belated up and give them a 'jolt' by querying the bases on which their criticisms by M R W. A. P. FISHER (which we published last April) methods are founded or otherwise shaking them out of their com to M R SHAPIRO'S original article in February 1951. It is a pity that placency by casting doubts on the legitimacy of traditional methods the two protagonists take so long to formulate their replies to one of procedure. another and we hope that M R FISHER (or, for that matter, anyone else who cares to enter the lists) will, metaphorically speaking, not let Turning to Fundamentals the sun go down on their wrath, but will produce a further contribu As a subject develops and its applications change it is possible, and tion within the next week or two so that it may appear in our next indeed likely, that the methods of dealing with it in the design office issue. Otherwise it is difficult for anyone except the protoganists to should also change and that a more up-to-date approach should be keep track of the argument. However, it might perhaps be as well if adopted to tackle a more up-to-date problem. We remember, for in the matter were allowed to rest where it is as it has already drifted stance, on a recent occasion discussing with a research engineer the on over two annual volumes and further contributions would carry precise source of strength of a certain well-known figure in the aero it into a third. nautical world who has on several occasions introduced new mathe matical methods of solving problems which were causing consider A Doughty Opponent able trouble to those attempting to deal with them as a routine matter. Our friend, who, like the subject of the discussion, has been a We have deliberately invited others to enter the ring because contributor of these columns, said that the individual referred to was M R SHAPIRO has, both in his original article and in his supporting in his opinion quite outstanding and the reason for this was very contribution in this issue, so patently and deliberately trailed his coat simple. He had little interest in, or deep knowledge of, the published that we cannot believe that there are not others who will wish to work of others and therefore approached every new problem from 'have a go'. first principles which enabled him to get right to the root of the We do not, incidentally, wish it to be thought from this that we are matter with his mind unclouded by the mass of tradition and con taking sides or suggesting that M R SHAPIRO is wrong, but simply that vention that had as a rule gradually accumulated round it. obviously the whole subject of fatigue—or, rather the method of approaching it—is highly controversial and it is clearly desirable that now the sore has been opened up it should be well ventilated. There Our Justification is obviously plenty of room for debate. Witness, for instance, M R This, being, as we are, convinced and firm believers in the SHAPIRO'S picturesque statement—which we hesitate to dub exag value of a knowledge of the history of engineering, at first, we must geration—that 'I did not say that ad hoc tests for fatigue strength confess, rather shook us as it seemed on the face of it to under are good, bad or indifferent, necessary or superfluous. I said that mine this faith. On reflection, however, we drew comfort from two they are impossible'. Here is a nailing of the colours to the mast thoughts. In the first place, it is we think essential that the history of with a vengeance, showing the writer to be a controversialist worthy a subject should be used with intelligence and the reasons underlying of any man's steel. So let others enter the ring in which obviously no the various stages in the development of a tradition clearly under holds are barred and the originator of the argument at least is un stood and combined with a constant remembrance of the first prin likely to throw in his own towel. ciples originally formulated which must not be lost sight of in chang ing conditions. In other words, the wood must not be lost sight of Another Example by a too close study of its component trees. Our second source of comfort was that it perhaps requires an exceptional brain to be able Another article which is relevant to what we have written above as a regular practice invariably to go back to the basic facts and that appeared in our August issue. Entitled 'The Study of the Strength of for more ordinary mortals it is safer to be content with applying the Materials' it was contributed by PROFESSOR F. T. HILL whose death results of the work of a chain of successive investigators at any rate removed from the aeronautical world a well-loved figure who had until for one reason or another it becomes apparent that this method been familiar to many of us for more than thirty years. He called for does not provide the solution of a new problem. a reconsideration of the teaching of the strength of materials in the light of the variation in the loads on them, leading to fatigue, due to However all this may be, we are quite certain that it is, as we said the special characteristics of aeroplanes as distinct from the ordinary at the outset, a good thing for a prophet to arise and disturb the static engineering structure. Here is another instance of the need for contentment of the ordinary disciples; even if by so doing he only stepping back and taking stock from time to time. sticks his neck out—to use an expressive colloquialism.
Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology – Emerald Publishing
Published: Dec 1, 1952
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