AAD – 76th ANNUAL MEETING
16-20 February, 2018
San Diego, California
Features and curiosities of the “Vite Aerea” of Leonardo Da Vinci
In studying the air screw, Leonardo anticipates by centuries the formulation of the tractive power of the helix.
The basis of the machine is, in fact, the intuition that air can, under certain conditions, act as a solid body: an object that screws inside must then lift upwards, just like a screw and turning penetrates into the wood.
The machine consists of a fixed circular base inscribed in a movable crown that is connected to a vertical transmission shaft.
The screw has a 5 meter diameter and is made of reed, linen cloth and wire. The shaft is spun by four men who stand on the central platform and push the bars in front of them with their hands.
There is no proof that Leonardo has actually built the machine he imagined.
In the notes that describe the drawing, Leonardo wrote:
“I believe that if this mechanism is well made with starched linen cloth and if it is spun rapidly, the screw rise up high into the air.”