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Just read this abstract by a Regeneron STS finalist. Is the idea of a virtual winglet a viable concept? Seems interesting.

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  • $\begingroup$ Somebody needs to tell West Virginia University to start teaching kids proper English. The word "virtual" does not mean what they think it means. I mean, W. Virginia has a ton of issues with education, SAT's and IQ's, but this is over the top. All they are thinking of is redirection of airflow to provide the same effect on the wing as a winglet would. $\endgroup$ – Juan Jimenez Jun 22 '19 at 9:27
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    $\begingroup$ Oh, come on. It says "high school" in the title, you can't judge it by the same standards as a college paper. $\endgroup$ – Therac Jun 22 '19 at 9:32
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    $\begingroup$ From Webster: "being such in essence or effect though not formally recognized or admitted". Doing the job of a winglet although not actually being one physically. I'd say that could be construed to fit. $\endgroup$ – John K Jun 22 '19 at 13:19
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnK Not even closed. Second part of that sentence kills your argument. :) $\endgroup$ – Juan Jimenez Jun 22 '19 at 13:44
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    $\begingroup$ You are applying a definition that only applies in the computer world. There are others. In the physical world, virtual doesn't mean it doesn't exist. The virtual refers to the fact that even though the effect is there, the physical object, or concept, nominally associated with that effect is of a radically different form. Like this device. It's not a physical winglet, but has the same effect as a winglet (in theory). It's virtually a winglet. Thay guy over there is a virtual dictator. He exists; he is not officially a dictator, but he exercises powers that have the same result. $\endgroup$ – John K Jun 23 '19 at 17:32
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Aston Martin do something similar with their 'Aeroblade', which replaces the rear spoiler, so the concept of using air to guide surrounding air is viable. Whether it's more efficient than using a physical object, remains to be seen.

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