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Small bang theory: Supersonic flight without the din

Small bang theory: Supersonic flight without the din

作者:闫姝腻  时间:2019-03-02 05:05:01  人气:

Matt Cardy/Alamy Stock Photo By Devin Powell WELCOME to the most unpleasant room at NASA. The sonic boom simulator at Langley Research Center in Virginia may have a comfortable sofa and a soft rug, but the sound system is vicious. A hundred speakers and subwoofers hidden in the walls can shake the floor and rattle your eardrums as they blast out the thunderous noise of a plane breaking the sound barrier. NASA uses the room to understand how annoying sonic booms are. Life is full of irritating noise, from the drilling of roadworks to your partner’s snoring. Where do the bangs and rumbles produced by a supersonic aircraft rank? You might think we already know the answer. After all, fighter jets have been zipping around faster than sound for decades, making a noise like two quick-fire rifle shots. The same goes for Concorde: the famously graceful supersonic airliner produced booms powerful enough to crack windows. But it has been more than 40 years since Concorde’s first flight, and engineers at NASA and elsewhere now have some nifty ideas for making booms less shocking. If they can do enough to muffle the din – and prove it doesn’t annoy anyone – then perhaps supersonic air travel can be reborn. “Airliners have been stuck at the same speeds since the 1960s,” says Peter Coen,