Document Detail

Leading-edge vortex improves lift in slow-flying bats.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  18309085     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Staying aloft when hovering and flying slowly is demanding. According to quasi-steady-state aerodynamic theory, slow-flying vertebrates should not be able to generate enough lift to remain aloft. Therefore, unsteady aerodynamic mechanisms to enhance lift production have been proposed. Using digital particle image velocimetry, we showed that a small nectar-feeding bat is able to increase lift by as much as 40% using attached leading-edge vortices (LEVs) during slow forward flight, resulting in a maximum lift coefficient of 4.8. The airflow passing over the LEV reattaches behind the LEV smoothly to the wing, despite the exceptionally large local angles of attack and wing camber. Our results show that the use of unsteady aerodynamic mechanisms in flapping flight is not limited to insects but is also used by larger and heavier animals.
F T Muijres; L C Johansson; R Barfield; M Wolf; G R Spedding; A Hedenström
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Science (New York, N.Y.)     Volume:  319     ISSN:  1095-9203     ISO Abbreviation:  Science     Publication Date:  2008 Feb 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2008-02-29     Completed Date:  2008-03-13     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0404511     Medline TA:  Science     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1250-3     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Theoretical Ecology, Lund University, SE-223 62 Lund, Sweden.
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MeSH Terms
Air Movements*
Chiroptera / physiology*
Flight, Animal*
Wing / physiology*

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