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Hovering is a bother for bees: Fast flight is more stable
Date:3/14/2013

research looks at bumblebee flight using the same methods as used in quantum mechanics. By using average measurements such as wing size and shape, body mass, and upwards and downwards forces the researchers made the stability analysis of the flapping flight of an insect mathematically the same as that of a rigid airplane. By using the mathematical model rather than studying live bees, the researchers could be more accurate in their analysis of mechanical flight.

"The computational approach allows simulation of the inherent stability of a flapping motion in the absence of active control, which is very difficult, even impossible, to achieve in experiments using real insects," Sun further explained.

Xu and Sun used a model of a bumblebee with wings approximately the same size and shape as a real bee's flat plates with rounded edges, and with a thickness of three percent of the length of one wing. The outline they used of the body was also approximately the same as that of a bumblebee.

Previous research has looked at the hovering flight dynamics of different insects, including the dronefly, fruit fly and bumblebee. However, in hovering flight, there is no consideration of forwards movement, and the forces created by the wings cancel each other out. This study details that both vertical and horizontal movement need to be taken into consideration to determine how stable the flight is overall.

The results show a significant difference in stability measurements between bumblebees and droneflies something the researchers think is connected to the size and shape of the insects' wings. They plan to conduct further research in this area to compare the stability of flight at different speeds of bumblebees and droneflies.


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Contact: Lucy Goodchild
l.goodchild@elsevier.com
31-204-852-467
Elsevier
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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