How flight feathers stick together to form a continuous morphing wing

Laura Y. Matloff, Eric Chang, Teresa J. Feo, Lindsie Jeffries, Amanda K. Stowers, Cole Thomson, David Lentink*

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

46 Citaten (Scopus)


Variable feather overlap enables birds to morph their wings, unlike aircraft. They accomplish this feat by means of elastic compliance of connective tissue, which passively redistributes the overlapping flight feathers when the skeleton moves to morph the wing planform. Distinctive microstructures form “directional Velcro,” such that when adjacent feathers slide apart during extension, thousands of lobate cilia on the underlapping feathers lock probabilistically with hooked rami of overlapping feathers to prevent gaps. These structures unlock automatically during flexion. Using a feathered biohybrid aerial robot, we demonstrate how both passive mechanisms make morphing wings robust to turbulence. We found that the hooked microstructures fasten feathers across bird species except silent fliers, whose feathers also lack the associated Velcro-like noise. These findings could inspire innovative directional fasteners and morphing aircraft.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)293-297
Aantal pagina's5
Nummer van het tijdschrift6475
StatusPublished - 17-jan.-2020
Extern gepubliceerdJa

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