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2 vortex trails with 1 stroke
Date:2/25/2013

.ubc.ca/person/doug">Douglas Altshuler, formerly a professor of biology at UC Riverside, whose lab led the research. "We have been investigating the wake structure of hovering hummingbirds because this allows us to decouple the effects of different types of wings bat versus bird from different forward flight speeds.

Hummingbirds each weigh 2-20 grams. Because they can hover with high precision, they are able to drink nectar from flowers without any jiggling movement to their bodies. Besides using upstrokes and downstrokes, hummingbirds can rotate their wings. They can even flap their wings from front to back with a 180-degree amplitude.

"We began this study to investigate how the hummingbird used its tail while hovering," said Marko Princevac, an associate professor of mechanical engineering and a coauthor of the research paper. "After all, many insects also hover, but they have no tail. Instead, however, our research showed something interesting about the hummingbird's wings: the bilateral vortex structure. Hummingbirds hovering should cost a lot of energy but these birds are able to hover for long periods of time. Ideally, unmanned vehicles need to be operated with a very limited energy supply, which is why understanding how the hummingbird maximizes its use of energy is tremendously beneficial."

Sam Pournazeri, a former Ph.D. graduate student in Princevac's lab and a co-author on the paper, explained that in a downstroke, the air pressure difference developed as a result of wing movement creates flow from the bottom to the top of the wing. The result is a circular
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Contact: Iqbal Pittawala
iqbal@ucr.edu
951-827-6050
University of California - Riverside
Source:Eurekalert  

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