Navigation Links
Mathematical butterflies provide insight into how insects fly
Date:3/25/2013

In Robert A. Heinlein's science-fiction novel, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, one of the characters states that butterflies are just "self-propelled flowers." While Heinlein's description of the insect's aerodynamic ability is quite poetic, it does little to scientifically explain it. Four Japanese researchers have done a bit better by developing sophisticated numerical simulations of a butterfly's forward flight. In a paper in the American Institute of Physics' journal Physics of Fluids, the researchers describe how they mathematically modeled a butterfly as a four-link rigid-body system consisting of a thorax (the segment of the insect to which the wings are attached), an abdomen, and the two wings.

Using data from observations of butterfly flight in wind tunnels, the researchers conducted three different types of simulations with their model that were defined by the position and attitude of the thorax: tethered (where the thorax is fixed), prescribed (where the thorax is programmed to move in an expected manner) and free-flight (where the thorax movement is unrestricted). They found that their mathematical butterfly did as predicted make use of the tiny, swirling vortices that form in the direction of travel during a downward flap, pushing air down and providing lift. However, they also observed that the flow around the butterfly is much more turbulent than expected. This turbulent flow triggers the complex trajectories characteristic to the flights of butterflies that may be one of the strategies by which the insects avoid predators.

Finally, the researchers determined that the pitching angle of the thorax is the key to controlled periodic flight, noting that living butterflies likely can continually sense the attitude of their thorax and adjust their flapping motion accordingly to ensure stability. The researchers state that their future work will focus on identifying the mechanism by which this control is achieved.


'/>"/>
Contact: Catherine Meyers
cmeyers@aip.org
301-209-3088
American Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1

Related biology news :

1. UC Riverside mathematicians recognized by American Mathematical Society
2. Persistence or extinction: Through a mathematical lens
3. UF study shows spiders, not birds, may drive evolution of some butterflies
4. Massachusetts butterflies move north as climate warms
5. Rewarding work for butterflies
6. Monarch butterflies down again this year as decline continues, says Texas A&M expert
7. Study reveals how monarch butterflies recolonize northern breeding range
8. Commonly used herbicides seen as threat to endangered butterflies
9. Human microbe study provides insight into health, disease
10. Pig brain models provide insights into human cognitive development
11. Strange phallus-shaped creature provides crucial missing link
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/9/2017)... and MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. ... "Eating Well Made Simple," and 23andMe , the ... guide better food choices.  Zipongo can now provide customers ... food preferences, health goals and biometrics, but also genetic ... food choices. Zipongo,s personalized food decision support ...
(Date:3/2/2017)... Summary This report provides all the ... interests and activities since 2010. ... Read the full report: http://www.reportlinker.com/p03605615-summary/view-report.html ... report provides an in-depth insight into the partnering activity of ... On demand company reports are prepared upon purchase to ensure ...
(Date:3/1/2017)... 1, 2017  Aware, Inc. (NASDAQ: AWRE), a leading ... Richard P. Moberg has resigned, effective March 3, ... Financial Officer and Treasurer of Aware citing a desire ... a member of the Board of Directors of Aware. ... Executive Officer and co-President, General Counsel has been named ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/29/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition ... Industry Forecast to 2025" report to their offering. ... The Global Agricultural Chelates ... over the next decade to reach approximately $825.4 million by 2025. ... forecasts for all the given segments on global as well as ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... -- The Global Microfluidic Chips Market by Manufacturers, Countries, ... comprehensive study on the existing state of the global Microfluidic Chips ... Europe and Asia-Pacific , ... Africa . ... Browse 172 Tables and Figures, 13 Major Company Profiles, ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... ... March 28, 2017 , ... ... on March 22 in Philadelphia. The event was offered by the Chamber of ... Roundtable featured breakout groups and interaction with speakers who are leaders in ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... , Belgium , March 28, 2017 ... VolitionRx Limited (NYSE MKT: VNRX), today announced the engagement of ... DVD Associates, LLC, as a strategic consultant. Dr. Vollmer ... identifying and securing non-dilutive funding in the State ... United States . Dr. Vollmer Dahlke has ...
Breaking Biology Technology: