Tuesday, June 05, 2012
Mosquitoes Fly in Rain Thanks to Low Mass
The mosquito is possibly summer’s biggest nuisance. Sprays, pesticides, citronella candles, bug zappers — nothing seems to totally deter the blood-sucking insect. And neither can rain apparently.
Even though a single raindrop can weigh 50 times more than a mosquito, the insect is still able to fly through a downpour.
Georgia Tech researchers used high-speed videography to determine how this is possible. They found the mosquito’s strong exoskeleton and low mass render it impervious to falling raindrops.
The research team, led by Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering David Hu and his doctoral student Andrew Dickerson, found that mosquitoes receive low impact forces from raindrops because the mass of mosquitoes causes raindrops to lose little momentum upon impact. The results of the research will appear in the June 4 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.