Flight is a common, costly and yet a very efficient mode of locomotion. Birds, bats and insects move around by flying, and even if a very common mode of movement the aerodynamics and physiology of flight is far from fully understood.
Consequently, research on animal flight constitutes an important part of our efforts within CAnMove, and for that we have a unique wind tunnel facility. Here, animals can be studied at close range and in great detail using state-of-the-art techniques, such as high speed filming and flow visualisation to reveal how animals move their wings and what the effects of that are on the surrounding fluid.
Recent research has uncovered many new facts about the wake flows, and inferred magnitude and time-history of aerodynamic forces, the presence of unsteady aerodynamic high-lift mechanisms in bats (leading edge vortex), and efficiency of flight in birds such as passerines and swifts.
Research in the wind tunnel forms a basis to build new aerodynamic theories about animal flight, which are then used for theoretical modeling and generating predictions about flight performance in the wild.