Hummingbird Aerodynamics- High Speed Video - Smarter Every Day 27 | Summary and Q&A

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October 17, 2011
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SmarterEveryDay
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Hummingbird Aerodynamics- High Speed Video - Smarter Every Day 27

TL;DR

Researchers use olive oil and lasers to study hummingbird flight and discover that 70% of their lift comes from the fore stroke.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How do researchers study hummingbird flight?

Researchers spray olive oil in the air around hummingbirds and use lasers to measure the flow field, allowing them to visualize and analyze the bird's flight patterns.

Q: What did the study reveal about hummingbird flight?

The study found that 70% of the hummingbird's lift comes from the fore stroke, contrary to the previously believed 50-50 distribution between fore and back strokes.

Q: What is the purpose of the tail flick observed in hummingbirds?

Researchers are unsure of the exact purpose of the tail flick but speculate that it may be related to changing airflow around the bird's body or adjusting its center of gravity for maneuvering.

Q: What are researchers doing to further study the tail flick behavior?

The researchers are developing a six degree of freedom model to study the tail flick behavior and its impact on hummingbird flight.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Researchers at Oregon State University and University of Montana use olive oil and lasers to study the flow field around hummingbirds and calculate how they stay aloft.

  • The study reveals that 70% of the hummingbird's lift comes from the fore stroke, while 30% comes from the back stroke.

  • The researchers are still uncertain about the purpose of the tail flick observed in hummingbirds and are conducting further studies.

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