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A study of autorotating plant seeds. (English) Zbl 1343.92057
Summary: A leading edge vortex exists on the upper surface of an autorotating plant seed. The vortex enhances the vertical aerodynamic force acting on the seed and decreases the rate of descent. We analyzed the flight data of rotary seeds and revealed that the lift-drag ratio affects the descent factor more strongly than the vertical force coefficient. This has also been confirmed by falling tests of model rotors, which have various aspect ratios, airfoil shapes and total masses.

MSC:
92C10 Biomechanics
92C80 Plant biology
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References:
[1] Azuma, A.; Yasuda, K., Flight performance of rotary seeds, J. Theor. Biol., 138, 23-53, (1989)
[2] Johnson, W., Helicopter theory, (1980), Dover New York
[3] Lentink, D.; Dickson, W. B.; Van Leeuwen, J. L.; Dickinson, M. H., Leading-edge vortices elevate lift of autorotating plant seeds, Science, 324, 1438-1440, (2009)
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