Bat Flight

Kinematics and aerodynamics of bat flight

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We investigated the detailed kinematics and wake structure of different bat species. Bats were trained to fly in the wind tunnel and time resolved PIV and high speed cameras were used to visualize the flow structure in the spanwise plane perpendicular to the flow stream and reconstruct the 3D wing movement simultaneously. Patterns in kinematics and wake structure were studied over a range of flight speeds. We investigated further the degree of consistency in flight parameters, such as flapping frequency, stroke plane angle and circulation, within trials, different trials of the same individual and different individuals. We also compared the kinematics and wake structures among different species, comparing insectivorous bats with similar life styles with each other as well as with fruit eating bats with a very different ecology.



Hubel, T. Y., Hristov, N. I., Swartz, S. M. and Breuer, K. S. (2016). Wake structure and kinematics in two insectivorous bats. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 371 (doi: 10.1098/rstb.2015.0385).

Hubel, T. Y., Hristov, N., Swartz, S. and Breuer, K. (2012). Changes in kinematics and aerodynamics over a range of speeds in Tadarida brasiliensis, the Brazilian free-tailed bat. J.R.Soc. Interface ().

Hubel, T. Y., Riskin, D., Swartz, S. and Breuer, K. (2010). Wake structure and Kinematics – the flight of the Lesser dog-faced fruit bat Cynopterus brachyotis. JEB 213, 3427-3440 (). * Featured in Inside JEB, Journal of Experimental Biology 213.

Press Coverage:

New York Times bat article