22 October 2012

Kinematics and wing shape in flying bats: new paper from the lab

In a new study, originating from Rhea von Busse's PhD thesis, the kinematics and wing shape changes are analyzed in great detail in flying bats, Leptonycteris yerbabuenae. The movements of a great number of morphological landmarks on the wings were analyzed and interpreted with respect to aerodynamic output by the wings. For example, the wing area, angle of attack and camber of the wing all decrease as flight speed increases. This is reflecting the declining demands on the wings as force generating devices. It appears that kinematics change in ways to preserve a favorable flow regime around the wings. However, it remains to investigate how the bats gauge the flow above the wings and use that information to control the motor output, something that we hope to address in future experiments. The paper is published in the open access journal Biology Open.

17 October 2012

Animal Flight Lab meets Prof. Marianna Braza

The lab was visited by Prof. Marianna Braza from the Institut de Mécanique des Fluides de Toulouse, France, who presented her research on smart wings and turbulence of airplane landing gears. Marianna has become interested in biomimetics, i.e. obtaining design solutions from nature, with special emphasis on bird wings and ailerons. We presented out work on animal flight and dissuasions were initiated about possible future projects involving bird-inspired aerodynamic solutions, hopefully some that can become useful for future airplane designs.