Ring of fire

Delft - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - illustration - sfeer - illustratie a 3 D printed body of cyclist Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands / Team Giant - Alpecin) pictured during aerotest in the department Aerospace of the Technical University of Delft - photo Wessel van Keuk/Cor Vos © 2016

A 3D printed body of cyclist Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands / Team Giant – Alpecin) pictured during aerotest. Photo Wessel van Keuk/Cor Vos

The ring of fire technique has been developed by Professor Fulvio Scarano (Aerospace Engineering), who wants the bubble blowing technique, or particle image velocimetry (PIV), to ultimately be used outside in sports stadiums. Professor Scarano’s idea is that athletes – pass through a cloud of ultrafine helium bubbles during training and that at the same time lasers or LED lamps arranged in an arch over the track are shone onto them. Cameras and computers can then use this to display the air flow around the athlete. Scarano calls his invention the ‘ring of fire’. “Athletes are not yet able to train their aerodynamic position,” he explains, “but this is a waste of talent. I imagine future athletes wearing Google glasses that give them visual feedback about their air resistance just after they have passed through the ring of fire.” The technology involved is highly challenging, but there is another problem: the soap bubbles make the track slippery.

Stay informed about the research

Receive the Delft Outlook newsletter 4 times a year