Parachutes are devices and inventions that are glorified all over. Parachutes fascinate not the youngsters alone, but tourists and adults from all over the world. These conical canopies (later came to be known as a parachute) that help people to float and land to the ground safely, were invented approximately 4000 years ago.
Military officials and disaster management use parachutes and have made this device an integral part of their functioning. But the usage of parachutes is definitely not limited. Skydiving, a sport that uses parachutes, is the most talked about sport and there are constant articles and writings that keep us updated about this.
Literally speaking, the term parachute comes from a French word. In French, the word para means to resist and chute refers to free fall.
We thus try to have a sneak-peek at the invention, emergence, types, and functions of these fascinating devices.
Invention Of A Parachute:
As discussed earlier, parachutes were discovered almost four thousand years go. The history of parachutes holds names of a number of people who can be thought to be the pioneer behind the invention and emergence of parachutes.
Sima Qian, a writer during the Western Han Dynasty recorded the first use of parachutes by a legendary Chinese emperor called Shun.
Evidence shows that the oldest designs of parachutes depict a man hanging from a crossbar from which a canopy was attached. The straps from the crossbar, in turn, were tied to his waist. The similar depiction, dating back to as early as the Renaissance period, shows the basic and apparent working principle of the parachutes.
The years of 18th and the 19th century marked the invention of the modern day parachutes. Louis Sebastien Lenormand in france had made the invention in 1783.
The further and subsequent development of parachutes involved shifting the focus on the compaction of the devices. This also included changing of the material of the cloth out of which the dome shaped canopy was made. During the initial years of the 18th century, the materials used were linen. The material of silk, due to its low weight and high compaction capabilities replaced the former.
To eliminate further violent oscillations and tremors in the atmosphere during the decent, Jerome Lalande, in the year of 1804 invented a vent in the canopy of the parachute.
With world wars and revolutionary era coming in the way of its emergence, the scientists considered parachutes as an essential part of the evolution of mankind. The then scientists and militants and other officials recognized how parachutes are of immense help. It becomes easier to jump off from a disabled airplane with parachutes.
The Modern Day Types Of Parachutes:
Modern-day parachutes are not only of one kind but are categorized into classes and subclasses on the basis of their uses:
Firstly, the modern-day parachutes are divided into two types- ascending and descending type canopies.
From their names, we can get a brief idea about their working principles. The ascending type canopies are used to make ascend and stay aloft in the air for as long as the parachute permits. Further parachutes involve round, cruciform, annular and pull down apex, rogallo wing, and ram air.
The operation of a parachute includes skills and training. The sportsmen assigned in the skydiving are trained primarily so that they can not only operate their own system efficiently but also help the tourists. The most important part about parachutes involves its packaging. If a parachute is not packaged properly it might result in its malfunctioning and cause fatal accidents.