Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The secrets of a bug's flight

Date:
November 12, 2013
Source:
American Institute of Physics (AIP)
Summary:
Researchers have identified some of the physics that may explain how insects can so quickly recover from a midflight stall -- unlike conventional fixed wing aircraft, where stalls often lead to crash landings. The analysis, in which the researchers studied the flow around a rotating model wing, improves the understanding of how insects fly and informs the design of small flying robots built for intelligence gathering, surveillance, search-and-rescue, and other purposes.

The left image represents a non-rotating wing in the presence of incident flow; it exhibits a stalled state. The right image, taken shortly after the onset of rotation (at 36 degrees), shows a stable, lift-generating flow structure.
Credit: Matthew Bross

Researchers have identified some of the underlying physics that may explain how insects can so quickly recover from a stall in midflight -- unlike conventional fixed wing aircraft, where a stalled state often leads to a crash landing.

The analysis, in which the researchers studied the flow around a rotating model wing, improves the understanding of how insects fly and informs the design of small flying robots built for intelligence gathering, surveillance, search-and-rescue, and other purposes. The work is described in the journal Physics of Fluids.

An insect such as a fruit fly hovers in the air by flapping its wings -- a complex motion akin to the freestyle stroke in swimming. The wing rotates in a single plane, and by varying the angle between the plane and its body, the insect can fly forward from a hovering position.

To simulate the basics of this action, Matthew Bross and colleagues at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA, studied how water flows around a rotating model wing consisting of a rectangular piece of acrylic that is twice as long as it is wide. The rotation axis is off to the side of the wing and parallel to its width, so that it rotates like half of an airplane propeller. To simulate forward motion -- a scenario in which the insect is accelerating or climbing -- the researchers pumped water in the direction perpendicular to the plane of rotation.

"We were able to identify the development of flow structure over an insect-scaled wing over a range of forward flight velocities," Bross explained. The researchers made detailed three-dimensional computer visualizations of the flow around the wing, finding that a leading-edge vortex -- a feature crucial for providing lift -- almost immediately appears once the wing starts to rotate after a stalled state.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Institute of Physics (AIP). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. Bross, C. A. Ozen, D. Rockwell. Flow structure on a rotating wing: Effect of steady incident flow. Physics of Fluids, 2013; 25 (8): 081901 DOI: 10.1063/1.4816632

Cite This Page:

American Institute of Physics (AIP). "The secrets of a bug's flight." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131112095343.htm>.
American Institute of Physics (AIP). (2013, November 12). The secrets of a bug's flight. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131112095343.htm
American Institute of Physics (AIP). "The secrets of a bug's flight." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131112095343.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Strong jet demand has pushed Boeing to raise its profit forecast for the third time, but analysts were disappointed by its small cash flow. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — As more and more Bluetooth-enabled devices are reaching consumers, developers are busy connecting them together as part of the Internet of Things. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thanks, Marty McFly! Hoverboards Could Be Coming In 2015

Thanks, Marty McFly! Hoverboards Could Be Coming In 2015

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) — If you've ever watched "Back to the Future Part II" and wanted to get your hands on a hoverboard, well, you might soon be in luck. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) — Researchers in South Korea are developing a robotic pilot that could potentially replace humans in the cockpit. Unlike drones and autopilot programs which are configured for specific aircraft, the robots' humanoid design will allow it to fly any type of plane with no additional sensors. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins