Navigation Links
What makes flying snakes such gifted gliders?
Date:3/4/2014

WASHINGTON D.C. Mar. 4, 2014 -- Animal flight behavior is an exciting frontier for engineers to both apply knowledge of aerodynamics and to learn from nature's solutions to operating in the air. Flying snakes are particularly intriguing to researchers because they lack wings or any other features that remotely resemble flight apparatus.

Before you envision flying snakes raining down from the sky, the ones involved in this study are small -- about 1 meter in length and the width of your thumb -- and live in the lowland tropical forests of Asia and Southeast Asia.

Virginia Tech Assistant Professor Jake Socha, renowned for his work with flying snakes, recently teamed with Boston University and George Washington University researchers to explore snakes' lift and wakes using computer simulations. They describe their work in the journal Physics of Fluids.

Previously, experiments in a wind tunnel had returned an unexpected finding: the snake's shape is not only good at generating a force of lift, but it also gets an extra boost of lift when facing the air flow at a certain angle.

"After experiments uncovered this, we decided to use computer simulations to try to explain it," says Lorena Barba, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the George Washington University.

So much of the aerodynamics of animal flight -- especially that of flying snakes -- remain a mystery. Scale is important, but also the manner in which flight is achieved.

"Rather than fixed wings, animal fliers have flapping wings," explains Barba. "In the case of gliders, their small scale means they're always in a flurry of whirling winds. By understanding how they can be graceful and efficient under these conditions, we can in turn use that knowledge to create small flying machines that are equally graceful."

Whirls of wind can be particularly useful: these little vortices "can give flying snakes an extra lift," notes Barba. "The shape of the snakes in flight -- which is a flattened version of its shape at rest -- gets help from little vortices around it."

Next, the researchers would like to include more elements of the snake's real gliding conditions into their computer simulations, such as its full body forming an S-shape, rather than working with just a section.

"This will be more difficult to do in a computer model, but it will probably reveal more about the complicated flow patterns snakes take advantage of to be such gifted gliders," Barba says.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jason Socrates Bardi
jbardi@aip.org
240-535-4954
American Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. NIST microanalysis technique makes the most of small nanoparticle samples
2. Graduate student makes major discovery about seal evolution
3. From artificial to natural, the food industry makes a major shift
4. Design prototype chip makes possible a fully implantable cochlear implant
5. Oil composition boost makes hemp a cooking contender
6. New technique makes biogasoline from plant waste
7. Hormone in crab eyes makes it possible for females to mate and care for their young
8. Living on islands makes animals tamer
9. Negative feedback makes cells sensitive
10. Markets Poised for Healthy 2014 as Biometrics Makes Strides in Technology Sector - Company Strengthens Board with Industrys Top Leaders
11. Copper intake makes tumors breathe
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
What makes flying snakes such gifted gliders?
(Date:4/28/2016)... India , April 28, 2016 ... Infosys (NYSE: INFY ), and Samsung SDS, a ... that will provide end customers with a more secure, ... services.      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130122/589162 ) , ... services, but it also plays a fundamental part in enabling ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... 2016  A new partnership announced today will ... decisions in a fraction of the time it ... high-value life insurance policies to consumers without requiring ... Force Diagnostics, rapid testing (A1C, Cotinine and HIV) ... pressure, weight, pulse, BMI, and activity data) available ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... PROVIDENCE, R.I. , March 31, 2016  Genomics ... leadership of founding CEO, Barrett Bready , M.D., ... addition, members of the original technical leadership team, including ... Vice President of Product Development, Steve Nurnberg and Vice ... have returned to the company. Dr. Bready ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... WEDI, the nation’s leading authority on the ... Charles W. Stellar has been named by the WEDI Board of Directors as WEDI’s ... an executive leader with more than 35 years of experience in healthcare, association management ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... La Jolla, CA (PRWEB) , ... May 24, 2016 , ... ... and financial planning for corporate executives and entrepreneurs, held The Future of San Diego ... leaders in the San Diego life science community attended the event with speakers Dr. ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Oxitec CEO Hadyn ... at 10:15 a.m. ET before the United States House Committee ... mosquitos can play in controlling the spread of the ... virus.      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20150630/227348 ) ... a self-limiting gene. Trials in Brazil , ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... Diego, CA (PRWEB) , ... May 20, 2016 , ... ... that 10 of its most experienced veterinary clients have treated over 100 of their ... cutting edge technology to provide the highest level of care for their patients. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: