Owls are well known for their almost silent flight. Previous studies of their flight feathers have revealed they have fringes on their trailing edge that suppress noise, but the way the fringes actually suppressed sound was not known, so a research team at scientists and engineers at Center for Aerial Intelligent Vehicles at Chiba University, Japan set out to study how trailing edge (TE) fringes work. 

As described in Interesting Engineering: “To study the owl wings, the research team created two three-dimensional(3D) models of the real owl wing. One of the models had the TE fringes, while the other did not. Both models were used in fluid flow simulations conducted at speeds of a gliding flight approach of the owl.”

They research team found the trailing edge fringes worked in two ways to suppress noise – they broke up trailing edge vortices as well as supressing the shedding of wingtip vortices.  Hao Liu, who led the study commented: “Our findings demonstrate the effect of complex interactions between the TE fringes and the various wing features, highlighting the validity of using these fringes for reducing noise in practical applications such as drones, wind turbines, propellers and even flying cars.”

References: Interesting Engineering 23 January 2024; ScienceDaily 23 January 2024; Bioinspiration & Biomimetics, 17 November 2023, doi: 10.1088/1748-3190/ad0aa9

Editorial Comment: How clever our Lord Jesus was when He created the owls in the first place.  Even the use of the word “created” in the Interesting Engineering article is a probably unintended reaction to this.  The original press release from Chiba University did not use this word, but it seems engineers are not afraid to use it, as they know that the 3D model was the product of creative design by intelligent scientists and engineers.  As such, they are without excuse if they believe the real owl wings evolved by chance random accidents. Furthermore, any practical applications such as quiet propellers, drones and wind turbines will also be the result of creative design.

Trailing edge fringes on Masked Owl wing. Photo by Craig Hawkins

Trailing Edge Firnges

Creation Research News 26 January 2024

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