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Novel wind tunnel created

Research Achievements

Novel wind tunnel created

In the last four months, our IGERT has brought together a civil engineer (IGERT faculty, Evan Variano), a biologist (IGERT Co-PI, Robert Dudley with expertise in aerodynamics) and an IGERT trainee (Ian Tse, a mechanical engineer by training) to build a novel wind tunnel that can adjust turbulence in the vicinity of a flying animal. The new apparatus extends the idea of an active grid wind tunnel to one that adjusts not only the shear inserted into a wind tunnel, but also the average wind velocity. For the first time, the apparatus offers an opportunity to measure the flight dynamics of animals, like hummingbirds, as a function of varied turbulence intensities, thereby enabling the discovery of new principles of flight dynamics.