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Wind Dispersal of Natural and Biomimetic Maple Samaras

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Engineering Mechanics Program, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
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School of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
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Department of Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, 24061, USA
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Blacksburg High School, Blacksburg, VA 24060, USA
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Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Matt McHenry
Biomimetics 2021, 6(2), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics6020023
Received: 30 December 2020 / Revised: 21 March 2021 / Accepted: 22 March 2021 / Published: 29 March 2021
Maple trees (genus Acer) accomplish the task of distributing objects to a wide area by producing seeds, known as samaras, which are carried by the wind as they autorotate and slowly descend to the ground. With the goal of supporting engineering applications, such as gathering environmental data over a broad area, we developed 3D-printed artificial samaras. Here, we compare the behavior of both natural and artificial samaras in both still-air laboratory experiments and wind dispersal experiments in the field. We show that the artificial samaras are able to replicate (within one standard deviation) the behavior of natural samaras in a lab setting. We further use the notion of windage to compare dispersal behavior, and show that the natural samara has the highest mean windage, corresponding to the longest flights during both high wind and low wind experimental trials. This study demonstrated a bioinspired design for the dispersed deployment of sensors and provides a better understanding of wind-dispersal of both natural and artificial samaras.
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Keywords: wind dispersal; maple samaras; autorotation; additive manufacturing; biomimicry wind dispersal; maple samaras; autorotation; additive manufacturing; biomimicry
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MDPI and ACS Style

Nave, G.K., Jr.; Hall, N.; Somers, K.; Davis, B.; Gruszewski, H.; Powers, C.; Collver, M.; Schmale, D.G., III; Ross, S.D. Wind Dispersal of Natural and Biomimetic Maple Samaras. Biomimetics 2021, 6, 23. https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics6020023

AMA Style

Nave GK Jr., Hall N, Somers K, Davis B, Gruszewski H, Powers C, Collver M, Schmale DG III, Ross SD. Wind Dispersal of Natural and Biomimetic Maple Samaras. Biomimetics. 2021; 6(2):23. https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics6020023

Chicago/Turabian Style

Nave, Gary K., Jr., Nathaniel Hall, Katrina Somers, Brock Davis, Hope Gruszewski, Craig Powers, Michael Collver, David G. Schmale III, and Shane D. Ross. 2021. "Wind Dispersal of Natural and Biomimetic Maple Samaras" Biomimetics 6, no. 2: 23. https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics6020023

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