“Tubercle Technology: Biomimetics and the ... - Clark University

prunemareAI and Robotics

Nov 14, 2013 (3 years and 11 months ago)

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Tubercle Technology: Biomimetics and the Humpback Whale Flipper



The humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) is exceptional among the
large baleen
whales in its ability to undertake aquabatic maneuvers to catch prey.

Humpback
whales utilize extremely mobile, wing
-
like flippers for

banking and turning.
Large rounded tubercles along the leading edge of
the flipper are morphological
structures that are unique in nature.
The leading edge tubercles act as passive
-
flow
-
control devices, which
improve flipper performance and maneuv
erability.
Possible fluid
dynamic mechanisms could be responsible for improved performance,

including stall delay through vortex generation and boundary layer
modification,
and increase in effective span by reduction of both
spanwise flow and s
trength of
the tip vortex. The tubercles provide a
bio
-
inspired design that has commercial
viability for wing
-
like
structures. Passive flow control has advantages of
eliminating
complex, costly, high
-
maintenance, and heavy control mechanisms,
whil
e
improving performance for lifting bodies in air and water. The leading
edge
tubercles can be applied in the design of water
-

and aircraft, ventilation fans
and windmills.








Professor
Frank E. Fish

Department of Biology

Liq
uid Life Laboratory

West Chester University

West Chester, PA