Henri Coanda: June 7, 1886 – November 25, 1972

Henri Coanda was a Romanian aeronautical engineer best known for his work on the fluid dynamic principle with his namesake, the Coanda effect. Before this, Henri patented what he labeled as a jet engine.

Jet Engine 1
Jet Engine

Henri’s patent (French patent No. 416,54, dated October 22, 1910) gives more information into how he envisioned the motor working. When air entered the front, it passed through different cavities that caused the air stream to first contract and then expand. In Henri’s opinion this contraction and expansion converted the air’s kinetic energy into potential energy.  The air ultimately was channeled to a diffuser where it was discharged.

Henri stated that the efficiency of this engine could be improved by heating the air in the cavities, Henri’s logic was that this would increase the pressure of the air passing through.

What is obviously lacking in the patent (including identical ones taken out in England and the United States) is any mention of injecting fuel, which in a true jet engine would combust with the incoming air. Judging only by Henri’s patent, it was little more than a large ducted fan and it could not have flown.  Throughout Henri’s career he changed his story many times on whether this plane actually flew or not.

Not to cast too much shade on Henri’s accomplishments he did discover the Coanda effect.  The Coanda effect states that a fluid will adhere to the surface of a curved shape that it is flowing over.  One might think that a stream of fluid would continue in a straight line as it flows over a surface, however the opposite is true.  A moving stream of fluid will follow the curvature of the surface it is flowing over and not continue in a straight line. This effect is what causes an airplane wing to produce lift, and enhance lift when the ailerons are extended while at lower air speeds such as occurs during takeoff and landing.

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Ailerons positioned for cruising speed

EXAIR uses the Coanda effect to offer you highly engineered, intelligent and very efficient compressed air products.  Our designs take a small amount of compressed air and actually entrain the surrounding ambient air with the high velocity exiting compressed air stream to amplify the volume of air hitting a surface.

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Surrounding Air Captured (Entrained) In Exiting Compressed Air Stream
How Air Knife Works
1). Compressed Air Inlet, 2). Compressed Air Exiting EXAIR Super Air Knife 3). Surrounding Air Being Entrained With Exiting Compressed Air Stream
Super Air Amplifier
EXAIR Super Air Amplifier Entraiment

When you are looking for expert advice on safe, quiet and efficient point of use compressed air products give us a call.   We would enjoy hearing from you.

Steve Harrison
Application Engineer
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People of Interest: Henri Coanda June 7, 1886 – November 25, 1972

Henri Coanda was born in Bucharest, Romania on June 7 1886 in a large family with five brothers and two sisters. His father, Constantin M. Coanda, was a decorated Romanian soldier and following in his footsteps he also enlisted in the military. He finished his military education with high honors, but his keen interest in flying and his desire to achieve this sent him down a much different path.

Coanda attended a technical university in Germany and also attended the Superior Aeronautical School in Paris where he graduated at the top of his class with the highest of honors. In less than a year, he had partnered with Gianni Caproni, another known aviator, to construct what was called the Coanda-1910. This aircraft was displayed in Paris at the Second International Aeronautical Exhibition. But, unlike other planes of this time, Coanda’s aircraft did not have a propeller. The plane had an oddly shaped front with built-in rotary blades arranged in a swirling pattern. It was driven by an internal turbine screw that would suck air in through the turbine while the exhausting gases exited from the rear, driving the plane forward by propulsion.

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As impressive as this jet engine was, no one believed that it could fly. It is not believed that it ever did achieve flight, despite some contradictory claims by Coanda himself, but was instead struck by disaster. It is rumored that as Coanda injected more fuel into the engine, he was surrounded by flames, thrown from the craft and was lucky to make it out alive. Coanda is not credited as the inventor of the first jet plane, but it is his technology that sky rocketed future aviation research and provided perspective into how jet engines should be built.

Coanda is most known today for his research into what is now known as the Coanda Effect, or propensity of a fluid to adhere to the walls of a convex surface. It is this principle that creates lift on an airplane wing and is also the driving force behind many of EXAIR’s Intelligent Compressed Air Products. If you’d like to discuss how the Coanda effect is utilized in a Super Air Knife, Super Air Amplifier, or Super Air Nozzle give us a call!

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

 

Jet Engine image courtesy of Luke Healy via Creative Commons License