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The findings were published in Journal of the Royal Society Interface. (HT file photo)

Gull’s wings may help design smarter airplanes

The study showed that the design of a gull’s wing points to a novel and fairly simple, avian-inspired joint that may enable aircraft to adjust dynamically to challenging conditions.

WT24 Desk

Flexing a single elbow joint, which enables gulls to adapt their wing shape to gusty conditions, could relatively be a simple mechanism to inspire aircraft design, according to a new research, according to IANS.

The study showed that the design of a gull’s wing points to a novel and fairly simple, avian-inspired joint that may enable aircraft to adjust dynamically to challenging conditions.

As wing speeds and maximum gusts increase, gulls sacrifice stability for maneuverability. By altering the angle of their elbow joint, they shift from extended wing configurations to a flexed configuration, pulling the tips of their wings in and back.

The flexed shape gives them more control.

The findings were published in Journal of the Royal Society Interface. To determine the stability of different wing shapes, the researchers prepared gull wings over the anatomical elbow range and measured their performance in a wind tunnel and observed gulls in the wild.

It is not enough for birds to simply produce sufficient lift and thrust. They must also control and stabilise their flight paths to be able to successfully forage and migrate in their natural habitat, said Christina Harvey, Researcher with the University of Michigan in the US.

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