Wing ‘clap’ solves mystery of butterfly flight 蝴蝶展翅飛行之謎破解

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研究人員一直無法理解小巧的蝴蝶是如何用它們巨大但低效的翅膀飛行的。現在,一項新的研究表明,蝴蝶進化出了一種有效的合攏和拍打翅膀的方式來產生推力。

The fluttering flight patterns of butterflies have long inspired poets, but baffled scientists. The delicate creatures have unusually large wings, which are aerodynamically inefficient. But now using high-speed cameras and a wind tunnel, researchers say they have solved the puzzle.

一直以來,蝴蝶翩翩起舞的飛行模式賦予詩人靈感,卻困擾了科學家。這種小巧脆弱的生物長有異常巨大的翅膀,這從空氣動力學的角度來看,效率很低。但現在,通過使用高速攝像機和風洞試驗技術,研究人員稱他們已經解開了這個謎題。

When taking off, the leading edges of the butterfly’s wings come together to form an air pocket. This improves the efficiency of the wing clap, pushing the butterfly forward at speed. The researchers say that this flying trick has helped the slow-moving creatures escape predators and thrive.

在起飛時,蝴蝶翅膀的前緣併合,形成一個氣穴。這提高了拍動翅膀的效率,推動蝴蝶快速前進。研究人員說,這個飛行技巧幫助了行動緩慢的蝴蝶逃脫捕食者的追捕,並茁壯成長。

The authors believe the discovery could prove useful in other spheres. Some drone devices and underwater vehicles already use propulsion systems based on a wing clapping motion, but with limited success. The researchers say that the natural approach developed by butterflies could dramatically improve the performance.

此研究的作者們認為,這一發現可能會在其它領域派上用場。一些無人機裝置和水下航行器已經使用了基於拍翅運動原理的推進系統,但成效甚微。研究人員說,由蝴蝶演變出的自然方法可能會大大提高推進系統的性能。

詞彙表

fluttering 拍打、顫動(翅膀)
delicate 小巧脆弱的
aerodynamically 空氣動力學方面,空氣動力學地
high-speed cameras 高速攝像機
solved the puzzle 解決了謎題
leading edges 前緣
air pocket 氣穴
clap 拍動
flying trick 飛行技巧
slow-moving 行動緩慢的
drone 無人機
underwater 水下的
propulsion 推進,推動力

閱讀理解:請在讀完上文後,回答下列問題。

1. True or false? Scientists have always been able to explain how butterflies can fly with large, inefficient wings.

2. What did researchers use to solve the mystery of butterfly flight?

3. When taking off, which parts of the butterfly come together to form an air pocket?

4. In which area, according to the authors, could the discovery prove useful?

答案

1. True or false? Scientists have always been able to explain how butterflies can fly with large, inefficient wings.
False. The fluttering flight patterns of butterflies have long baffled scientists.

2. What did researchers use to solve the mystery of butterfly flight?
Researchers used high-speed cameras and a wind tunnel to solve the puzzle.

3. When taking off, which parts of the butterfly come together to form an air pocket?
The leading edges of the butterfly’s wings.

4. In which area, according to the authors, could the discovery prove useful?
According to the authors, it could dramatically improve the performance of propulsion systems used in drone devices and underwater vehicles.