Good Thinking

Ribbon ceiling fan design based on a three-dimensional helical loop

Ribbon ceiling fan design base...
The Ribbon, a loop-bladed prototype ceiling fan
The Ribbon, a loop-bladed prototype ceiling fan
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The Ribbon, a loop-bladed prototype ceiling fan
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The Ribbon, a loop-bladed prototype ceiling fan
The Ribbon uses the inner workings of a conventional fan
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The Ribbon uses the inner workings of a conventional fan
The Ribbon, a loop-bladed prototype ceiling fan
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The Ribbon, a loop-bladed prototype ceiling fan
The Ribbon, a loop-bladed prototype ceiling fan
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The Ribbon, a loop-bladed prototype ceiling fan
The Ribbon, a loop-bladed prototype ceiling fan
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The Ribbon, a loop-bladed prototype ceiling fan
The Ribbon in motion
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The Ribbon in motion
View gallery - 6 images

Bored with your plain old ceiling fan, with its old school, conservative straight blades? Perhaps what you need is the Ribbon. A one-off exercise from Australian industrial designer Ben McMahon, the Ribbon not only looks radically different than traditional fans, but is also claimed to be much more effective at air circulation. The designer obviously believes his invention has potential, as he has entered it in this year’s James Dyson Awards.

The design is based on a three-dimensional helical loop, which adds stability and increases air flow, according to McMahon. On a traditional axial fan, he states, the most effective part of a blade is the section closest to the end. His fan, essentially, is all end. Because the blade is the only non-traditional part of the Ribbon, it could be mounted on existing fan motors, thus reducing production costs and technical challenges.

The Ribbon, a loop-bladed prototype ceiling fan
The Ribbon, a loop-bladed prototype ceiling fan

To establish the optimum blade curvature, McMahon ran trials with scale models, full-size test fans, and CFD (computational fluid dynamics) simulations. He eventually ended up with a design that created a vortex, dispersing the air throughout the room. By contrast, he observed that traditional fans tended to direct the air into more of a focused plume, directly beneath themselves.

The Ribbon in motion
The Ribbon in motion

Of course, with any funny-looking product of industrial design, aesthetics count at least as much as function. McMahon says that once in motion, the Ribbon's blade blurs into a singular whirling loop of color, and gives “the impression of a hovering unsuspended form rotating around a static central hub.” That sounds, and presumably feels, pretty cool.

View gallery - 6 images
11 comments
Anumakonda Jagadeesh



Very good invention. Some Fan manufacturing companies in India designed a bend at the end of the fan blades. But in the past in India in Government Offices,hospitals,Churches etc., there used to be hand driven PUNCA(FAN) with a wooden plank 1.5 m length and 40 cm width with a cloth twisted hanging at the bottom. There is a pulley to facilitate horizontal motion. A human used to pull it. The advantage is you get horizontal motion as such gentle air. As the swept area is more, more room gets gentle wind. This can be modernised with a motor. Also one can paint pictures on the wooden plank for beauty.

Also I designed a horizontal hand fan by attaching a hand fan of Palmyra leaf to Wiper motor. As Wiper oscillates in a horizontal way one can get gentle air. Of course one has to convert DC into AC. By placing this innovative fan in froe, one can get gentle air.

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore (AP), India
Facebook User
i\'m surprised dyson hasn\'t tried his hand at making his \'bladless\' fan into a ceiling fan design.
alcalde
I\'m wondering if this design has any applications for boats/submarines....
Gadgeteer
A design that creates a vortex? He should shop this to Vornado. It would be a perfect fit with their line of \"vortex action\" air circulators. As long as it\'s reasonably priced, like $100, I\'d buy one.
BigGoofyGuy
When not in use, it gives the appearance of art.
heldmyw
I wonder if this has any implications for helicopters!
Coaxial rotating ribbons would be much stronger and lighter than the single rotor blades, and probably require much less maintenance.
I wonder just how fast they can go?
Running chopper rotors where the tip approaches the speed of sound creates some interesting problems.
And by \'interesting\' I mean \'bad\'.
Hmmmm....
Bala Subramanya
awe some !!!!!!!!!!!! great dude ..........PERFECT AERO SHAPE BLADES :)
Stretch@StiltWalker.com
Would take forever to clean it !!!
Dave B13
I don\'t care that I\'ve got low cielings, when these come out, I\'m putting one up!
Looks like astonishing good design to me.
Shaun Bracewell
that\'s using the ole\' noggin.