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  • Researchers found that barbules— the smaller, hook-like structures that connect feather barbs— are spaced within 8 to 16 micrometers of one another in all birds, from the hummingbird to the condor. This suggests that the spacing is an important property for flight.
    University of California San Diego
    Researchers found that barbules— the smaller, hook-like structures that connect feather barbs— are spaced within 8 to 16 micrometers of one another in all birds, from the hummingbird to the condor. This suggests that the spacing is an important property for flight.
  • You may have seen a kid play with a feather, or you may have played with one yourself: Running a hand along a feather’s barbs and watching as the feather unzips and zips, seeming to miraculously pull itself back together. 
That “magical” zipping mechanism could provide a model for new adhesives and new aerospace materials, according to engineers at the University of California San Diego. They detail their findings in the Jan. 16 issue of Science Advances in a paper titled “Scaling of bird wings and feathers for efficient flight.”
    University of California San Diego
    You may have seen a kid play with a feather, or you may have played with one yourself: Running a hand along a feather’s barbs and watching as the feather unzips and zips, seeming to miraculously pull itself back together. That “magical” zipping mechanism could provide a model for new adhesives and new aerospace materials, according to engineers at the University of California San Diego. They detail their findings in the Jan. 16 issue of Science Advances in a paper titled “Scaling of bird wings and feathers for efficient flight.”
  • Researchers 3D-printed structures that mimic the feathers’ vanes, barbs and barbules to better understand their properties—for example, how the underside of a feather can capture air for lift, while the top of the feather can block air out when gravity needs to take over.
    University of California San Diego
    Researchers 3D-printed structures that mimic the feathers’ vanes, barbs and barbules to better understand their properties—for example, how the underside of a feather can capture air for lift, while the top of the feather can block air out when gravity needs to take over.
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