A tool for examining hovering flight of insects and birds could allow researchers to study other matters pertaining to locomotion, Stephen Childress, a professor at New York Universitys Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, demonstrated at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in St. Louis. The findings were part of a symposium, "How Insects Fly," which also included researchers from Cornell University and the California Institute of Technology.
Previous research in this area was conducted through observations of a small pteropod mollusk, or "sea butterfly," whose locomotion in water is similar to that of a butterflys flight. That revealed two modes of locomotion: in one, cilia mode, the organism swims forward much like a micro-organism, using waves of beating cilia, or hair-like structures; in another, flapping mode, the wings are extended and flapped back and forth in a symmetrical manner, propelling the body forward. These results showed that this particular organism was able to use both modes: one pertaining to the microorganisms, the other to the insects or birds. As the pteropods grew, observations by Childress with his colleague, Robert Dudley, a biologist at the University of California, Berkeley, showed that the wings enabled more rapid swimming. Extrapolating the data backwards to small size, it was found that wings ceased to be effective at a critical size, establishing a transition size for winged flight.
Building on this scholarship, Childress and his colleagues at the Courant Institutes Applied Mathematics Laboratory sought ways to study free flight in the laboratory. They first replicated the forward flight of the pteropod by driving a horizontal rigid blade in a vertical oscillation while immersed in fluid. The blade was mounted on a vertical shaft, free to rotate in either direction. The blade flapped horizontally according to Newtons law of motion. It was found that the transition seen in the pteropods occurred also with the flapping blade. The transition depends upon both the size of the blade and the frequency of flapping. The researchers were thus able to study the transition by varying the frequency instead of the size. Below a certain frequency the blade ceased to rotate.
James Devitt | EurekAlert!
Fish recognize their prey by electric colors
13.11.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
The dawn of a new era for genebanks - molecular characterisation of an entire genebank collection
13.11.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly
The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
13.11.2018 | Life Sciences
13.11.2018 | Life Sciences
13.11.2018 | Awards Funding