Thursday, February 12, 2009
While Stumbling through the Internet the other day, I stumbled upon a website for a company called WhalePower. This company designs wind turbines that emulate the shape of humpback whales' tubercle-clad pectoral fins. You know, those bumpy things on the outside edge of their flippers? Right. So, in a 2004 article published in Physics of Fluids by Miklosovic, Murray, and Howle, the usefulness of the protuberances is discussed. Amazingly, in performance tests in wind tunnels, flippers with tubercles showed a significant increase in lift and decrease in drag. Guess these whales knew how to do it all along!