Business, Finance & Economics

Humpback whales inspire new helicopter design

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The bumps, called Leading-Edge Vortex generators (LEVoGs), have a diameter of six millimeters and weigh only 0.04 grams.

Credit:

DLR

  • helicopter-humpback-design-2012-2-3.jpg

    Humpback whales are known for their great speed and acrobatic skills due to their unusually large pectoral fins, which have bumps along the front edge. DLR researchers translated the idea of using bumps for delaying the onset of stalling to helicopter rotors and tested it out using the Bo 105 research helicopter.

    Credit:

    DLR/Josh Friedmann

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    Photomontage of a humpback whale and the DLR helicopter Bo 105.

    Credit:

    DLR/Josh Friedmann

  • helicopter-humpback-design-3.jpg

    A computer simulation shows turbulence around a rotor blade when the airflow separates from the aerofoil. This phenomenon, referred to as a 'dynamic stall,' occurs on a backward-moving main rotor blade during fast forward flight or maneuvering.

    Credit:

    DLR

  • helicopter-humpback-design-4.jpg

    The bumps, called Leading-Edge Vortex generators (LEVoGs), have a diameter of six millimeters and weigh only 0.04 grams.

    Credit:

    DLR

  • helicopter-humpback-design-5.jpg

    Kai Richter (left) and Holger Mai of DLR Göttingen inspect the installation of small rubber bumps on the helicopter. 186 bumps were attached to each rotor blade.

    Credit:

    DLR

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    DLR Braunschweig tested the concept using the Bo 105 research helicopter.

    Credit:

    DLR