Flying insects defy aerodynamic laws of airplanes

July 12, 2016

The moves and maneuvers of flying insects in the air are unmatched by even the best pilots. Scientists New York University revealed that insects sometimes don’t obey the same aerodynamic laws as airplanes. An article in the journal Physical Review Fluids shows the details of this studying.

The insects, which are able to fly, is the great mystery of nature. Physicists from USA and China noted that flying insects sometimes do in the air the most complicated maneuvers, which are not explainable from the point of view of an aerodynamics. But how the insects do that?

The significance of aerodynamic is undoubted, it is the law. The scientists were surprised with the speed of an insect and ability to develop it in the air despite common law of aerodynamics. Earlier, there were a lot of studies flying insects (hundreds of wings beats a second), all of them suggested that flies and different bugs don’t obey the laws of aerodynamics.

According to the Leif Ristroph, an assistant professor at NYU’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences:

“We found that the drag or wind resistance also behaves very differently, and we put together a new law that could help explain how insects move through the air.”

The recent study showed that the back-and-forth motions cause the drag to resist the movement in some instances; but it worth to note, at other times the drag is directed forward (like a thrust). The net force that results depends on the flight speed and the flapping motions, all of which the Ristroph’s team included in a new drag law.