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Studying Owls to Improve Aircraft

Studying Owls to Improve Aircraft | Biomimicry | Scoop.it
Many owls have the extraordinary ability to fly in almost complete silence. Could this adaptation have implications for the way we design aircraft?

 

Photo details: Snowy Owl, Saint Barthelemy, Near Montreal, Quebec. Copyright © 2010, Alan D. Wilson. http://www.naturespicsonline.com

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Yves Bonis's curator insight, December 9, 2014 3:51 AM

Le vol silencieux des hiboux a déjà inspiré le Shinkansen - le "TGV" japonais. Il pourrait bien aider également l'aviation...

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Biomimetics: the Nature as a Source of Inspiration for A350 XWB Design.

Biomimetics: the Nature as a Source of Inspiration for A350 XWB Design. | Biomimicry | Scoop.it
"[...] In a macroscopic axis, the A350 XWB considers the actively deformation of the surfaces to provide the best aerodynamic performance and control of load for each flight conditions; takeoff, climb, cruise, approach, landing, maneuver, turbulence-encounters, etc. This is what birds, fish and marine mammals perform beautifully, called "morphing".  The idea is to move from a 'rigid' world to flexibility and adaptation technologies."
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Bio-inspired Unmanned Aircraft Capable of Soaring Like Birds

Bio-inspired Unmanned Aircraft Capable of Soaring Like Birds | Biomimicry | Scoop.it
Researchers are developing a bio-inspired unmanned aircraft capable of soaring like birds, boosting energy efficiency and endurance. The research team is aiming to be the first in the world to demonstrate an autonomous unmanned aircraft that can mimic birds by using updrafts around buildings to stay airborne.
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Secret of Owls' Silent Flight Revealed by Scientists

Secret of Owls' Silent Flight Revealed by Scientists | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"The secrets of owls' near silent wings has been revealed by scientists who could now use the technology to develop quieter aircraft. A new study has shown how the bird of prey's naturally evolved plumage gives the hunting advantage of 'acoustic stealth', allowing it to sneak up on targets. Research found that many owl species have developed feathers which can effectively eliminate the aerodynamic noise from their wings as they cut through the air."

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Aviation Industry Dons 'Shark Skins' to Save Fuel

Aviation Industry Dons 'Shark Skins' to Save Fuel | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

In its never-ending quest to develop more aerodynamic, more fuel-efficient aircraft, the aviation industry believes the ocean's oldest predator, the shark, could hold the key to cutting energy consumption.

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Scorpions May Have Lessons to Teach Aircraft Designers

Scorpions May Have Lessons to Teach Aircraft Designers | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

The north African desert scorpion, Androctonus australis, is a hardy creature. Most animals that live in deserts dig burrows to protect themselves from the sand-laden wind. Not Androctonus. It usually toughs things out at the surface. Yet when the sand whips by at speeds that would strip paint away from steel, the scorpion is able to scurry off without apparent damage. Han Zhiwu of Jilin University, in China, and his colleagues wondered why.

 

Their curiosity is not just academic. Aircraft engines and helicopter rotor-blades are constantly abraded by atmospheric dust, and a way of slowing down this abrasion would be welcome. Dr Han suspects that scorpions may provide an answer. As he writes in Langmuir, he has discovered that the surface of Androctonus's exoskeleton is odd. And when that oddness is translated into other materials it seems to protect them, as well.

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Innovative by Nature: Airbus Establishes a Company-wide Network for Bionics Projects

Innovative by Nature: Airbus Establishes a Company-wide Network for Bionics Projects | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Airbus believes that much can be learned by studying the natural world, and in putting this philosophy into practice as a global innovation leader, the company has launched numerous projects inspired by biological systems and methods in order to develop new technical solutions. [...] One bionics project at Airbus seeks a new method for stiffening surfaces by leveraging physical qualities of the Victoria water lily (Victoria amazonica) – which has intrigued engineers with its superior ability to support significant point loads. The plant’s leaf vein structure provides Airbus with a model for reinforcing surfaces, and can now be found on the inner surface of a 3D-printed aircraft spoiler drawn up as part of a concept study." 

 
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Feathers in Flight Inspire Advanced Anti-Turbulence Systems

Feathers in Flight Inspire Advanced Anti-Turbulence Systems | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Inspired by nature's own anti-turbulence devices – feathers – researchers have developed an innovative system that could spell the end of turbulence on flights. Researchers from the Unmanned Systems Research Team at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, have lodged a provisional patent on the system, which mimics the way feathers help birds detect disturbances in the air."

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Zachary12's curator insight, November 3, 2014 4:17 PM

This is a an great idea and concept for flight similar to that comic joke that with Irish man who was the first man to fly by putting geese feather on him self. These scientist found that feather might dissipate  turbulence on a plane since we have found that birds don't experience any type of turbulence. Look at Peregrine Falcon which can reach 200 mph when diving at a prey

Brad's comment, November 30, 2014 9:55 AM
I could see this technology being more available to small aircraft like it says, but the ability to ensure no turbulence or even a claim to even reduce turbulence in large plains is unsure. Small planes are the ones who get bounced around the most, larger aircraft are still so large I am not sure if it would be cost effective. It seems like this technology is very early. When a new technology claims it is copyiung nature it must be better, or does it? I don't see how tons of metal and steel could ever really rect like a birds wing.
Zachary12's comment, November 30, 2014 10:03 PM
I think you right brad in fact that lager planes would not experience to much affect but the small planes might, and for copying nature I would have to say that they should look at this idea for feathers for small amount of effort for overcoming turbulence. But another maybe even better way would be a integrating more natures concepts to the wings like carbon fiber wings that might give to increase pressures or changes in jets streams. I use carbon fiber as an example is be cause it has a high tensile strength giving less likely hood to snap but this could give the once ridged wings more flexibility in flight to compensate.
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Birds' V Formation Mystery 'Solved'

Birds' V Formation Mystery 'Solved' | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"The mystery of why so many birds fly in a V formation may have been solved. Scientists from the Royal Veterinary College fitted data loggers to a flock of rare birds that were being trained to migrate by following a microlight. This revealed that the birds flew in the optimal position - gaining lift from the bird in front by remaining close to its wingtip. The study, published in the journal Nature, also showed that the birds timed their wing beats."

Miguel Prazeres's insight:

Flying commercial planes in formation much like birds do has been conceptualized as a way to save fuel by flying in formation: http://www.triplepundit.com/2009/08/taking-cues-from-birds-to-green-the-airline-industry/

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Airbus and Biomimicry: Nature Inspired Aviation

Airbus and Biomimicry: Nature Inspired Aviation | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"What do velvet, the skin of a shark, and advancements in aircraft aerodynamics have in common? The answer rests in a field of scientific study that involves examining what can be extracted, learned and duplicated from the natural world. Known as ‘biomimicry,” or biologically inspired engineering, this is the study and imitation of nature’s best ideas to help solve human challenges. A growing number of aeronautical innovations have been inspired by an array of natural structures, organs and materials – and these tried and tested patterns of the natural world will continue to be a powerful source of inspiration in the future." 

 

Photo details: Bald Eagle , Morris Valley Road, Harrison Mills, British ColumbiaCopyright © 2008, Alan D. Wilson. http://www.naturespicsonline.com

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Owls' Ability to Fly in Acoustic Stealth Provides Clues to Mitigating Conventional Aircraft Noise

Owls have the uncanny ability to fly silently, relying on specialized plumage to reduce noise so they can hunt in acoustic stealth. Researchers from the University of Cambridge, England, are studying the owl's wing structure to better understand how it mitigates noise so they can apply that information to the design of conventional aircraft.

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