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Animal and biological science highlights: San Antonio Fluid Dynamics Conference, Nov. 23-25
Date:11/19/2008

und the leading edge of the shell. Given the extra space, the sand at the leading edge of the shell can unpack." This "fluidizes" the normally solid seafloor in a small region surrounding their shells, so that it flows like a fluid.

Hosoi and her colleagues plan to design a robotic digger based on the method used by the clams. The goal, she says, "is to understand the fundamental mechanisms of optimized burrowing and then apply that to new anchoring technologies."

Winter will discuss the research in his talk, "Drag reduction mechanisms employed by burrowing razor clams (Ensis directus), at 9:44 am on Monday, November 24, 2008, in Room 203B of the San Antonio Convention Center. Abstract: http://meetings.aps.org/Meeting/DFD08/Event/90331.


5) ARE FLEXIBLE, FLAPPING FLYING MACHINES IN OUR FUTURE?

Modern aircraft have been fabulously successful with rigid wings and rotors. But just imagine the flying machines that would be possible if we could understand and harness the most efficient and acrobatic airfoils in nature: the flexible wings of the bat.

The aerodynamics of "compliant" structures, such as bat wings, are very complicated because both the structure and airflow change and adapt to each other in a highly nonlinear way. Bats' wing bones are even flexible, unlike those of birds, which gives the mammals added control but is an additional challenge for scientists trying to understand them. Kenny Breuer's research group at Brown University is designing a series of fundamental experiments that will allow scientists to isolate, observe and analyze a variety of specific flow-structure interactions that are important in understanding bat flight and, in general, the aerodynamics of compliant structures. Ultimately, Breuer expects that experiments like these will yield insights enabling new generations of flying machines that are impossible to consider toda
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Contact: Jason Bardi
jbardi@aip.org
301-209-3091
American Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert

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