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The step taken by scientists to determine the ideal wing shape for the ideal airspeed as well as this advance may lead to better methods for the harvesting energy from water.

According to a research that was published in a journal Proceeding of the Royal Society A, relies on a technique that mimics evolution biology to ascertain which structure produce the best pace.

“We can simulate biological evolution in the lab by generating a population of wings of different shapes, have them compete to achieve some desired objective, in this case, speed, and then have the best wings ‘breed’ to make related shapes that do even better,” said Leif Ristroph, an assistant professor at New York University in the US.

The researchers involved in the project created the 3D-printed wings that are flapped mechanically and raced against one another, with the winners “breeding” via an evolutionary or genetic algorithm to create ever faster flyers.

In order to impersonator this project process, the researchers began the experiment with different ten wing shapes whose propulsion speeds were measured.

After the test, the algorithm separated out the pairs of fastest wings and then combined their attributes to create faster than before versions that were then 3D-printed and tested.

“This ‘survival of the fastest’ process automatically discovers a quickest teardrop-shaped wing that most effectively manipulate the flows to generate thrust,” said Ristroph.

“Because we explored a large variety of shapes in our study, we were also able to identify exactly what aspects of the shape were most responsible for the strong performance of the fastest wings,” he said.

After the testing was done, the result which came out showed that the fastest wing has a razor-thin trailing edge, which further helps in generating the strong vortices or swirling flows during the flapping.

-Simran Bhatnagar
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