Tuesday, January 13
Twisting in the Wind, Without Losing Shape
Excessive twisting can cause big trouble for airplanes, bridges
and buildings. Many of nature's beams and columns seem, by design,
to have low twisting stiffness compared to their flexural
stiffness. For example, low twisting stiffness allows insect
wings and bird feathers to twist as needed to maintain appropriate
angles of attack and with minimal drag in high winds.
Dr. Steven Vogel, professor of biology, Duke University, will
speak on "From Flower Stems to Feather Shafts: Twisting in the Wind
Without Getting Bent Out of Shape" at a colloquium at 2 p.m.,
Tuesday, Jan. 13, at NASA Langley's H.J.E. Reid Conference
A media briefing will be held at 1:15 p.m. at the H.J.E. Reid
Conference Center, 14 Langley Blvd., NASA Langley Research Center.
Members of the media who wish to attend should contact Kimberly W.
Land at (757) 864-9885 or 344-8611 (mobile) to arrange for
Vogel will take a look at what nature does to push us toward
designs where shapes change under load amounts.
In 1966, Vogel joined the faculty of Duke University after
receiving a doctorate in biology at Harvard University. He
researches the mechanical factors that underlie the designs of
organisms by looking at how especially small insects fly, how
leaves are shaped both to stay cool in near-still air and to
minimize drag in storm-level winds and how creatures such as squid
and whales use the currents around them to re-expand their mantles
and oral cavities.
Author of a number of books, Vogel's two recent books - Cats'
Paws and Catapults, and Prime Mover - explore the
intersections of biomechanics, human technology and human
culture. His newest is an undergraduate textbook,