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:2/2/2016)... --Technology Enhancements Accelerate Growth of X-ray Imaging This ... computed radiography markets in Thailand , ... (TIM). It provides an in-depth analysis of ... regional market drivers and restraints. The study offers revenue ... attractiveness, both for digital and computed radiography. Market participants ...
(Date:2/1/2016)... BURNABY, Canada , February 1, 2016 ... new technological advancements to drive global touchfree intuitive gesture ...   --> Rising sales of consumer electronics ... intuitive gesture control market size ... of consumer electronics coupled with new technological advancements to ...
(Date:1/28/2016)... -- Synaptics (NASDAQ: SYNA ), a leading developer of human ... December 31, 2015. --> --> ... 2 percent compared to the comparable quarter last year to $470.5 ... $35.0 million, or $0.93 per diluted share. ... quarter of fiscal 2016 grew 9 percent over the prior year ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/4/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Franz Inc. , an early innovator ... been recognized As “ Best in Semantic Web Technology - USA & Leader ... it’s our priority to showcase prominent professionals who are excelling in their industry ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... 2016  With the growing need for better ... underway, therapies such as monoclonal antibodies, recombinant protein ... of indications are in high demand. Conventionally expression ... and production of these therapeutics. However, due to ... costs, novel approaches and novel expression systems are ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... ... February 03, 2016 , ... ProMIS Neurosciences ... targets (epitopes) specific to misfolded, propagating strains of Amyloid beta involved in Alzheimer’s ... therapeutics for Alzheimer’s. , Following on from the first misfolded Amyloid beta target ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... ... February 03, 2016 , ... ... aid in the rapid development and ongoing quality control of molecular assays targeting ... is extremely high,” Dr. Gregory R. Chiklis, President and CEO of ZeptoMetrix, relayed ...
Breaking Biology Technology: