November, 1942 AIRCRAFT ENGINEERIN G 305 larly true of the often despised "pure", or fundamental, research made by painstaking laboratory workers in fields which interest Aircraft Engineering them for intrinsic reasons but which at the moment appear to have Devote d to th e Science an d Practice of Aero no practical application and whose value is not apparent. We understand, though we have no claim to write as experts on this nautic s and to Allied and Subsidiary subject, that in the last two years or so the subject.of radio has provided outstanding examples of this, when delving into long- Branche s of th e Engineering Industry forgotten, or at any rate, neglected, investigations by pure research Editor:Lieut.-Col. W. LockwoodMarsh, O.B.E.,F.R.Ae.S.,M.S.A.E.,F.I.Ae.S. workers in the field of ultra-short waves has revealed fundamental information that has made possible most important developments Vol. XIV, No . 165 November 1942 in such matters as radio-location. A Case in Point Another example, nearer home so far as the aeroplane and R. LIONEL MOTE, who has been responsible for many engine designer is concerned, is the more or less elementary investi translations from the German and French and summaries gations made by various enthusiasts into the question of jet- of foreign research reports that have appeared in AIRCRAFT propulsion which are only now linking up with recent work on cooling ENGINEERING in past years, puts forward on another page flow and ducted radiators to provide not onlystartling developments a strong plea for what he describes as " literary research." It is for the benefit of the liquid-cooled engine; but to bring nearer the almost unnecessary for us to declare our agreement with him jet-propulsion aeroplane itself. ' An example of " literary research " because ever since we started this paper it has been our policy in this connexion was afforded by the exhaustive study of all the to make available to our readers in summarized form all that has patents taken out for years past of which we published a translation come to us from sources both at home and abroad in the form of from the German in our February issue this year. Another instance reports of the results of researches. of a similar type of inquiry, on exhaust-turbine superchargers, appeared in our July issue. The point is, here, that to start da novo Our Own Record looking through the past issues of countless technical journals and In the days before the war, when such things were the subject transactions for articles'on any given subject on which a knowledge of free circulation throughout the world, we used to devote in the of previous work is newly desired-would obviously be an insuperable order of 15 per cent of each issue to abstracts of British and foreign and hopeless hunt. If, however, there is already available a well' research reports—French, German, Japanese, U.S. and others—and indexed file of abstracts arranged under suitable headings the patent specifications. Since the war we have not only continued bulk of the work is already done and it merely remains to go care this activity—so far as it has been possible in the prevailing condi fully through these, referring where necessary to the originals. tions to do so—but have extended it by making room for a very If the source from which each abstract comes is noted on it, the large number of complete reprints and translations of papers that library in which the periodical containing the original article is have found part of the transactions of overseas learned societies available for reference is automatically recorded. and professional institutions or appeared in technical periodicals in both friendly and enemy countries. This is not written in any The Field of Patents spirit of self-satisfaction but merely to emphasize that we arc not We should like to call attention to one specific point raised by MR. fresh converts to MR. MOTE'S view but can point to long-standing MOTE in connexion with patents. One of our chief reasons for belief in its soundness. deciding fourteen years ago to publish abstracts of the pafents taken out in various countries, and one of the principles which has Existing Activities guided us in selecting which patents to publish, has been to provide The Ministry of Aircraft Production has continued the admirable those contemplating taking out new patents with information as to work started by the Air Ministry of preparing and circulating most what prior claims had already been made. A careful study of these valuable summaries of articles appearing in the technical press of would, we have always felt, avoid the fruitless lodging of provisional the world and we are aware that several of the larger firms in the specifications which only have to be abandoned when the results industry incorporate these summaries with others prepared by of a search into previous applications in the same field were revealed. their own staffs and circulate them in their works. We are This matter is, of course, closely linked with the general subject privileged to see one of these productions and find it most interest of dissemination of knowledge and information within the industry, ing and its value to those employed by the firm concerned must be to which wc called attention last month. It is hardly enough, nor immense. So numerous are the technical papers on any branch is it satisfactory, for a few of the more wealthy firms to employ a of engineering that are now published all over the world that it is special staff to provide for their own requirements in " literary quite impossible for any one man to find time to read a tithe of research". them. Unless, however, he can have his attention drawn to them A. Central Organization in the handy form of intelligent abstracts it is inevitable that he will sooner or later miss something which may be of vital importance There should, we feel, be some central organization—which would in connexion with his own investigations. Such ignorance is bound not need a staff of more than very small proportions—whose to lead to duplication through experiments being undertaken which business it would be to collect, collate and index notes and abstracts on all the subjects of interest to aeronautical engineers so as to be have already been made elsewhere and much time may be lost ready to deal with individual inquiries and, if necessary, undertake through fruitless journcyings up a " blind alley " which has already been explored, and closed, by another worker. special investigations on a wider basis. If contacts were made with the various Government Departments, Research Associations and Delving into the Past individual firms who already do this work within their own limited fields we have not the smallest doubt that a most valuable mine of In our view, the preparation and circulation of abstracts of work information could be built up in a comparatively short time; to already done in any field by others is of enormous value and im which all seeking knowledge of work already done in their own portance. There is a good deal more in it than the mere combing field would soon learn to apply. If there is any hope of such an of current publications for items of interest; as is implied in organization being brought into being wc should be only too glad to MR. MOTE'S selection of the term " research", Much apparently offer any assistance that lies in our power towards its establishment. useless information may lie buried, sometimes for years, in for gotten articles in the technical press, which quite frequently assumes Attentio n is draw n to the notice regarding back numbers of AIRCRAFT a sudden importance in connexion with new developments, or ENGINEERIN G appearing on p. 334 of this issue. Any readers who have copie s to spare , particularly of those numbers specifically listed, will be discoveries, which may provide an exit from the dead-end to doin g a real service to others if they will communicate with the Editor. which the original investigation seems to have led. This is particu
Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 1, 1942
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