Thursday, 20 February 2014

The way bats fly may inspire a new small flying vehicle of the future

By exploring how creatures in nature are able to fly by flapping their wings, researchers at Virginia Tech in the US hope to apply that knowledge in designing small flying machines known as "micro air vehicles" with flapping wings.

More than 1,000 species of bats have hand membrane wings, meaning that their fingers are essentially "webbed" and connected by a flexible membrane. But understanding how bats use their wings to manipulate the air around them is extremely challenging.

In Virginia Tech's study of fruit bat wings, the researchers used experimental measurements of the movements of the bats' wings in real flight, and then employed analysis software to see the direct relationship between wing motion and airflow around the bat’s wing. They have reported their findings in the journal Physics of Fluids.

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