Whale flipper aerodynamics

Whale flipper aerodynamics

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This image is part of the feature Nature Engineers Uk Version

Credit: LAURENS HOWLE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Whale flipper aerodynamics. Computer model showing airflow over a humpback whale pectoral flipper. In wind tunnel tests, the whale flipper showed 8 percent better lift properties than a normal airplane wing, and withstood stall (reduction in lift) at a 40 percent steeper wind angle. Researchers believe this is due to the scalloped and uneven protruberances, known as tubercles, on the flippers leading edge. It is thought that tubercles on humpback whale flippers allow the whale to swim more efficiently through water. Tubercles may one day be designed for new biomimetic (mimicking nature) wings, helicopter blades, propellers and ship rudders.

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Keywords: aerodynamics, aircraft, airflow, american, aviation, biomimetics, biomimicry, duke university, engineering, flipper, flowing, fluid dynamics, humpback whale flipper, marine biology, model, north america, north american, pectoral flipper, people, person, scale model, technological, technology, transport, transportation, tubercles, united states, us, usa, whale flipper, wing design

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