By Mark Waghorn via SWNS
Owls hold the key to reducing noise from drones, airplanes, wind turbines and household fans, according to new research.
The birds of prey are nature's most efficient hunters thanks to serrated wings - that enable them to fly quietly.
They open the door to soundless aircraft wings, propellor blades or rotors.
In a warming world, fans can combat illnesses and even death. But they can keep people awake at night because of the noise.
Lead author Dr. Xiaomin Liu, of Xi'an Jiaotong University, China, said: "Nocturnal owls produce about 18 decibels less noise than other birds at similar flight speeds due to their unique wing configuration.
"Moreover, when the owl catches prey, the shape of the wings is also constantly changing, so the study of the wing edge configuration during owl flight is of great significance."
The World Health Organization says noise pollution is a serious risk to wellbeing.
It also interferes with daily activities at school, work, home and during leisure time.
It can disturb sleep, cause cardiovascular and psycho-physiological effects, reduce performance and change social behavior.
Most noise from wings - be it a bird, a plane or fan - originates at the trailing edge.
Air passing over the surface becomes suddenly turbulent. Owls have a solution to this problem.
Their feathers produce a flexible and porous fringe which smooths its passage.
They are the secret to the animal's impressive stealth - helping it pounce on voles, mice, hares, foxes - and even other birds.
Dr. Liu said: "Trailing-edge noise is the dominant source of sound from aeronautical and turbine engines like those in airplanes, drones and wind turbines.
"Suppressing this noise pollution is a major environmental goal for some urban areas."
Previous studies found serrations can dampen the noise of rotating machinery.
But reduction was not universal - depending heavily on the final application.
Dr. Liu said: "At present, the blade design of rotating turbomachinery has gradually matured, but the noise reduction technology is still at a bottleneck.
"The noise reduction capabilities of conventional sawtooth structures are limited, and some new nonsmooth trailing-edge structures need to be proposed and developed to further tap the potential of bionic noise reduction."
Computer simulations showed simplified airfoils reminiscent of owl wings suppressed the noise of rotating machinery.
Interestingly, asymmetric shapes worked better than symmetric counterparts. Noise reduction varied with different operating conditions.
People have known for centuries that owls fly silently - swooping undetected on their scurrying prey.
The amazing natural phenomenon can inspire us to develop better airfoil designs, said Dr. Liu.
It enables them to plunge steeply downwards - and then take off again. They can also hear prey - without it hearing them.
The feathers on the upper wing surface have a particularly detailed and complex micro-structure with layer upon layer of interleaved barbs and hairs.
Examining noise techniques under the influence of different incoming flows would make the conclusions more universal, said Dr. Liu.
The researchers believe the work published in the journal Physics of Fluids will serve as an important guide for airfoil design and noise control.
Stories and infographics by ‘Talker Research’ are available to download & ready to use. Stories and videos by ‘Talker News’ are managed by SWNS. To license content for editorial or commercial use and to see the full scope of SWNS content, please email email@example.com or submit an inquiry via our contact form.
Trabajadores dicen que es ‘caos absoluto’ si olvidan algo durante su turno
Para tres de cada cuatro trabajadores de primera línea, olvidarse de hacer una tarea en el trabajo puede crear caos...
Otherworldly images captured at SpaceX launch
"Truly a spectacle."
Hurricane Ian floods homes in Florida’s Key West
Footage shows one home completely flooded and in darkness due to the widespread blackouts.
Esta es la parte ‘más hangry’ de los Estados Unidos
Nunca te metas con una persona "hangry". Una encuesta reciente de 2,000 adultos estadounidenses encontró que el 74% admite que...
Using frozen embryos for IVF could up risk of high blood pressure during pregnancy
Researchers said women who had frozen embryo IVF conceptions were 74% more likely to develop hypertensive disorders than those who...
- Outer Space2 days ago
Astronaut takes enchanting picture of ‘space angel’
- Fashion & Beauty18 hours ago
Influencer shares trick to curling hair without curling iron
- Food & Drink18 hours ago
Where is the ‘hangriest’ place in the United States?
- Nature3 days ago
World’s largest collection of rare orchid discovered growing along military base
- Pets3 days ago
Nearly 80% say the best part of their day is coming home to their pet
- Shopping2 days ago
Shoppers willing to pay more than double for things that have this
- Personal Finance3 days ago
7 out of 10 Americans intimidated about investing their money
- Health2 days ago
Man’s skin turns grey after taking commonly prescribed pill