Many of us take public transportation or fly in airplanes on a regular basis, but have you ever wondered how all of these things work? This collection of transportation articles help explain how people get from place to place.
Topics to Explore:
How do you start a gas turbine engine? What is the mechanism to begin the rotation of the large fan blades?
Afterburners allow a jet plane to take off from a short runway, such as the deck of an aircraft carrier. What, exactly, is an afterburner and how do they work? Learn the answer to this question in this article from HowStuffWorks.
How are people able to breathe inside a submarine? What do they do to keep the air breathable?
It doesn't seem like twisted rope and wooden gears or levers would be able to produce the force and speed needed to launch heavy loads a great distance.
Water-cooled air conditioners work in a different way than standard air conditioners that chill the air with a compressor. If water-cooler air conditioners don't use a compressor, then how do they cool the air? Find out the answer in this article.
When an explosion occurs, the air rapidly expands around the ignition source. Why is it that in a jet engine the expanding gas doesn't force its way through the front of the engine? Find out the answer to this and other jet-related questions.
How much fuel does an international plane use for a trip?
Contrails are those long white clouds that form in the wake of an airplane flying at altitude. What causes these contrails and what are they made of? Learn the answer to this question in this article from HowStuffWorks.
I would like to know how airplanes can fly upside down and do loops. How does the fuel get to the engine if the plane is upside down?
How does an oxygen canister on an airplane or spacecraft work? The ValueJet crash in 1996 was attributed to oxygen canisters that created a fire. And there was a fire on the MIR space station caused by an oxygen canister. How can a fire CREATE oxygen?
Thomas the Tank Engine is a merchandising phenomenon that includes small wooden train sets, video tapes, books, clothing, an official Web site and tons of fan sites. But wait, what exactly is a "tank engine" anyway?
How do the engines breathe in diesel submarines? Don't internal combustion engines need a lot of oxygen to run? Where would all of this oxygen come from when the sub is underwater?
There is a force that causes a 3-pole motor to spin in one direction and not the other. What exactly is this force and how does it prevent the motor from spinning in another direction. Find out the answer to this question in this article from HowStuffWorks.
Do commercial jets have locks on the doors and ignition keys? If not, what keeps someone from stealing them?
When flushing the toilet in a passenger airplane, I'm amazed by the huge noise it makes -- like a powerful vacuum cleaner. Can you explain what makes this noise?
When I was a kid, my Aunt had constantly flowing water from a natural spring down the hill. She said the water was pumped uphill using a hydraulic ram. This device ran constantly and didn't need any electricity! What is a hydraulic ram and how does i
Ever wonder what's happening inside that huge jet engine as you're cruising along at 30,000 feet? Jets, helicopters and even some power plants use a class of engine called gas turbines, which produce their own pressurized gas to spin a turbine and create power.
The marvel we know as the helicopter began as a Chinese top consisting of a shaft -- a stick -- adorned with feathers on one end. They now buzz around the skies providing emergency medical assistance and your daily traffic report. Are you ready to meet the most versatile flying machines in existence today?
By Marshall Brain & William Harris