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:12/16/2016)... 2016 Research and Markets has announced the ... Forecast to 2021" report to their offering. ... The biometric vehicle access system ... CAGR of 14.06% from 2016 to 2021. The market is estimated ... reach 854.8 Million by 2021. The growth of the biometric vehicle ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... Calif. , Dec. 15, 2016   WaferGen ... publicly held genomics technology company, announced today that on ... Listing Qualifications Department of The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC ... closing bid price of WaferGen,s common stock had been ... Accordingly, WaferGen has regained compliance with Listing Rule 5550(a)(2) ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... , Dec. 15, 2016  There is much more ... or starting the engine. Continental will demonstrate the intelligence ... Las Vegas . Through the combination of the ... Entry) and biometric elements, the international technology company is ... personalization and authentication. "The integration of biometric ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/18/2017)... ... January 18, 2017 , ... Executive search firm ... its continued commitment to the advancement of the clinical trials segment. Hosted in ... to clinical trial planning and management. , As executive talent specialists in ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... NY (PRWEB) , ... January 18, 2017 , ... Researchers from a new study ... do not fall low enough after prostate cancer treatment, this indicates there is still remaining ... risk of mortality. , “ The PSA test has always been an indicator of whether ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... , Jan. 18, 2017 Shareholder rights law ... into whether the board members of CoLucid Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ... in connection with the proposed sale of the Company ... company that develops small molecules for the acute treatment ... announced it had signed a definitive merger agreement with ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... ... January 17, 2017 , ... LGC ... to its VALIDATE® SP2 calibration verification / linearity test kit. VALIDATE® SP2 evaluates ... Each VALIDATE® SP2 kit is prepared using the CLSI recommended “equal delta” method ...
Breaking Biology Technology: