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 April 23, 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 April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Air Force: $4.2B Saved from Grounding A-10s

Air Force: $4.2B Saved from Grounding A-10s

AP (Apr. 23, 2014) Speaking about the future of the United States Air Force, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh says the choice to divest the A-10 fleet was logical and least impactful. (April 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) South Korean officials say North Korea is preparing to conduct another nuclear test, but is Pyongyang just bluffing this time? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
China Falls for 4x4s at Beijing Auto Show

China Falls for 4x4s at Beijing Auto Show

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) The urban 4x4 is the latest must-have for Chinese drivers, whose conversion to the cult of the SUV is the talking point of this year's Beijing auto show. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is given hands-on demonstrations Tuesday of some of the newest research from DARPA _ the military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program. (April 22) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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