8.8.1885 London/UK - 24.8.1921 Humber Estuary
John Robert Pannell received his education at the Northampton Institute, and then joined the National Physical Laboratory NPL in 1906 to conduct experiments on the specific heat of steam. He collaborated from 1908 with Thomas Ernest Stanton (1865-1931) to pursue research on the friction of fluid flow in pipes and the rate of heat transfer from flowing fluids. The two established experimentally in 1914 the law of dynamic similarity for pipe flow by comparing the results obtained for air, water and oils. In 1914 also, Pannell was transferred to the Aeronautics Department of NPL where he remained until 1921. His aerodynamical work covered a systematic research on biplane systems and model observations on planes of Frederick Handley Page (1885-1962). At the time of his death he had practically completed a comparison of resistance of a streamlined shape in air and water, and he also analyzed the effect of surface roughness on airship resistance. Pannell as well as 43 colleagues were killed in the R38 Disaster during a mission of a long-test campaign in the Humber Estuary near Hull. Due to foggy weather, the R38 airship collapsed during a tight turn.
A major contribution of Pannell relates to the design of wind tunnels. His 1918 paper gives a survey on procedures applied in the 1910s, including a discussion of the value of model experiments, a description of wind tunnels other than those used at the National Physical Laboratory NPL, a review of the NPL wind tunnels with an account on the air screw balance, the measurement of wind velocities, a comparison of results collected from various installations, a discussion of the supporting models, the aircraft stability, and some remarks on the corrections to be applied for a change of scale and speed.
Anonymous (1921). J.R. Pannell AMIME, FRAeS. The Aeronautical Journal 25(9): 464. Pannell, J.R. (1918). The wind channel: Its design and use. The Aeronautical Journal 22(7): 211-240.
Pannell, J.R. (1919). The measurement of fluid velocity and pressure. Engineering 107: 261- 263; 107: 295-297; 107: 333-334; 107: 364-366; 107: 394-398.
Pannell, J.R. (1920). Fluid resistance on bodies of approximately streamline form. The Aeronautical Journal 24(9): 498-504.
Pannell, J.R., Frazer, R.A. (1924). Measurement of fluid, velocity and pressure. Arnold: London. Stanton, T.E., Pannell, J.R. (1914). Similarity relations of motion in relation to the surface friction of fluids. Philosophical Transactions Royal Society 214: 199-224.

Hydraulicians in Europe 1800-2000 . 2013.

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