Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Flying fish glide as well as birds

10.09.2010
We're all familiar with birds that are as comfortable diving as they are flying but only one family of fish has made the reverse journey.

Flying fish can remain airborne for over 40s, covering distances of up to 400m at speeds of 70km/h. Haecheon Choi, a mechanical engineer from Seoul National University, Korea, became fascinated by flying fish when reading a science book to his children.

Realising that flying fish really do fly, he and his colleague, Hyungmin Park, decided to find out how these unexpected fliers stay aloft and publish their discovery that flying fish glide as well as birds on 10 September 2010 in The Journal of Experimental Biology at http://jeb.biologists.org.

But getting hold of flying fish to test in a wind tunnel turned out to be easier said than done. After travelling to Japan to try to buy fish from the world famous Tsukiji fish market, the duo eventually struck up a collaboration with the National Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives of Korea. Park went fishing in the East Korean Sea, successfully landing 40 darkedged-wing flying fish. Selecting five similarly sized fish, Park took them to the Korean Research Centre of Maritime Animals, where they were dried and stuffed, some with their fins extended (as in flight) and one with its fins held back against the body, ready to test their aerodynamics in the wind tunnel. Fitting 6-axis force sensors to the fish's wings and tilting the fish's body at angles ranging from degrees to 45 degrees, Park and Choi measured the forces on the flying fish's fins and body as they simulated flights.

Calculating the flying fish's lift-to-drag ratios – a measure of the horizontal distance travelled relative to the descent in height during a glide – Choi and Park found that the flying fish performed remarkably well: gliding better than insects and as well as birds such as petrels and wood ducks. And when they analysed how the fish's lift-to-drag ratio changed as they varied the tilt angle, the duo found that the ratio was highest and the fish glided furthest when they were parallel to the surface, which is exactly what they do above the ocean. Measuring the airborne fish's pitching moment, the duo also found that the fish were very stable as they glided. However, when they analysed the stability of the fish with its fins swept back in the swimming position it was unstable, which is exactly what you need for aquatic manoeuvrability. So flying fish are superbly adapted for life in both environments.

Knowing flying fish always fly near the surface of the sea, Choi and Park then decided to find out if the fish derived any benefit from the aerodynamic effect of flying close to the surface. Lowering the fish's height in the wind tunnel they found that the lift-to-drag ratio increased as the fish models 'glided' near the floor. And when Park replaced the solid surface with a tank of water, the lift to drag ratio rose even more, allowing the fish to glide even further. So, gliding near the surface of the sea helps the fish to go further.

Finally, Choi and Park directly visualised the air currents passing around the flying fish's wings and body. Blowing streams of smoke over the fish, the duo saw jets of air accelerating back along the fish's body. Park explains that the tandem arrangement of the large pectoral fin at the front and smaller pelvic fin at the back of the fish's body accelerates the air flow towards the tail like a jet, increasing the fish's lift-to-drag ratio further and improving its flying performance even more.

Having shown that flying fish are exceptional fliers, Choi and Park are keen to build an aeroplane that exploits ground effect aerodynamics inspired by flying fish technology.

IF REPORTING ON THIS STORY, PLEASE MENTION THE JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY AS THE SOURCE AND, IF REPORTING ONLINE, PLEASE CARRY A LINK TO: http://jeb.biologists.org

REFERENCE: Park, H. and Choi, H. (2010). Aerodynamic characteristics of flying fish in gliding flight. J. Exp. Biol. 213, 3269-3279.

This article is posted on this site to give advance access to other authorised media who may wish to report on this story. Full attribution is required, and if reporting online a link to jeb.biologists.com is also required. The story posted here is COPYRIGHTED. Therefore advance permission is required before any and every reproduction of each article in full. PLEASE CONTACT permissions@biologists.com

Kathryn Knight | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.biologists.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Could this protein protect people against coronary artery disease?
17.11.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

nachricht Microbial resident enables beetles to feed on a leafy diet
17.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>