Fuck Yeah Fluid Dynamics

Celebrating the physics of all that flows. Ask a question, submit a post idea or send an email. You can also follow FYFD on Twitter and Google+. FYFD is written by Nicole Sharp, PhD.

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Flapping flight, despite being utilized by creatures of many sizes in nature, remains remarkably difficult to engineer. In this experiment, a simple rectangular wing is flapped up and down sinusoidally. Above a critical flapping frequency, the wing—which is free to rotate—accelerates from rest to a constant speed. This rotation is equivalent to forward flight. The upper image shows a photo and schematic of the setup, while the lower images shows flow visualization of the wing’s wake. The wing moves to the right, shedding thrust-providing periodic vortices in its wake. (Photo credits: N. Vandenberge et al.)

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    It’s amazing how every branch of science is related. For instance, without fluid dynamics (imaged/outlined above), the...
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