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Fluid Mechanics of Biological Surfaces and their Technological Application

Abstract

 A survey is given on fluid-dynamic effects caused by the structure and properties of biological surfaces. It is demonstrated that the results of investigations aiming at technological applications can also provide insights into biophysical phenomena. Techniques are described both for reducing wall shear stresses and for controlling boundary-layer separation. (a) Wall shear stress reduction was investigated experimentally for various riblet surfaces including a shark skin replica. The latter consists of 800 plastic model scales with compliant anchoring. Hairy surfaces are also considered, and surfaces in which the no-slip condition is modified. Self-cleaning surfaces such as that of lotus leaves represent an interesting option to avoid fluid-dynamic deterioration by the agglomeration of dirt. An example of technological implementation is discussed for riblets in long-range commercial aircraft. (b) Separation control is also an important issue in biology. After a few brief comments on vortex generators, the mechanism of separation control by bird feathers is described in detail. Self-activated movable flaps (=artificial bird feathers) represent a high-lift system enhancing the maximum lift of airfoils by about 20%. This is achieved without perceivable deleterious effects under cruise conditions. Finally, flight experiments on an aircraft with laminar wing and movable flaps are presented.

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Bechert, D., Bruse, M., Hage, W. et al. Fluid Mechanics of Biological Surfaces and their Technological Application. Naturwissenschaften 87, 157–171 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1007/s001140050696

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s001140050696

Keywords

  • Wall Shear Stress
  • Vortex Generator
  • Maximum Lift
  • Separation Control
  • Biological Surface