Military Review

Let's talk about science: how the study of pterosaurs can help aircraft designers

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Let's talk about science: how the study of pterosaurs can help aircraft designers

In the section “Let's talk about science”, a topic related to the study of flight biomechanics is proposed for discussion.


It is no secret that some modern aircraft (including UAVs) were created after careful study and analysis of the movement of birds and insects. Their biomechanics often gave engineers an understanding of which design option for an airplane glider or an unmanned aerial vehicle, or a helicopter rotor circuit, could be optimal for solving a particular design problem.

At the same time, it is necessary to take into account the fact that the study of the plumage of birds, their muscle structure along with the muscle structure of, for example, bats, began long before the appearance of the first aircraft. A man observed, drew conclusions, tried to test in relation to himself. As you know, it turned out with varying degrees of success. But the stubbornness of some, the observation of others and the genius of the third in the end still led to the fact that a man ascended into heaven.

However, the study of the biomechanics of living organisms with the ability to fly did not end there. It continues today. Moreover, often the study may seem more than exotic.



So, one of the specialist groups is studying the biomechanics of flight of extinct species in order to obtain detailed data on the possibility of its application to modern aircraft in one form or another. Pterosaurs are the first to be studied. In simple terms, these are flying dinosaurs extinct millions of years ago, or rather - flying archosaurs. Moreover, these are the largest living creatures capable of flying that have ever inhabited the Earth. At least to date, no larger flying living organisms are known. It is believed that birds eventually came from flying archosaurs.

Among the largest pterosaurs, one can distinguish, for example, the Aramburgian (Aramburgian) Philadelphia with a wingspan of up to 13 meters, as well as the Hatsegopteryx, whose wingspan reached 11 meters. Moreover, there is only estimated data on the mass of these creatures. And these data are “not less than 200 kg for adults”.

So how can extinct pterosaurs help modern aviation?

Scientists involved in the study of the flight of pterosaurs set as their task the study of natural solutions to ensure the stability of a large object in flight, the possibility of take-off actually from a place when taking into account the combination of the surface area of ​​the wing and the ability to fold and straighten it.

The problem is that scientists have to do the analysis solely on fossils that a computer program “revives”. It completes the muscle structure, allowing you to determine the main nodes of the load on the skeleton during takeoff and further flight.

Scientists say that the anatomy of the wings of pterosaurs is of the greatest interest. So, the aramburgians mentioned had the opportunity to use wings not only for their flight, but also for movements on the surface of the earth.

It is noted that there are three fairly well-preserved fossils of large pterosaurs. And these fossils allow you to see and study the membrane layers of their wings. Scientists believe that such a study will lead to the conclusion about the elasticity of the biological fiber of the wing of an ancient animal.

It is assumed that the so-called ballistic take-off for pterosaurs was distinguished by features. The fact is that the ability to jump to the required height for wingspan to a creature weighing several hundred kg is not so great. Therefore, a model was proposed, according to which the same Aramburgians pushed their elbows off the ground and at the moment of separation they got the opportunity to spread their wings. There is an option and repulsion from the hind limbs with spreading wings in an upright position.

It is believed that such an option would help the robotic drones to fly into the air with less fuel, which are necessary during the runway run.

Additionally, the effect of sailing is studied for such huge flying creatures as pterosaurs. Indeed, with a membrane device of wings with a wingspan of up to 13 m, a strong gust of wind could simply “blow off” the pterosaur “off course”. But this was hardly the case. The flight technique of an object with a large wingspan capable of changing shape when flying at high speed, as reported, can be used not only for aircraft, but also for landing equipment - for example, guided parachute systems, special suits, etc.

This, perhaps, is the case when paleontology can very well help the modern aircraft design school with non-standard solutions.
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  1. Grandfather
    Grandfather April 16 2020 19: 23 New
    +3
    Let's talk about science: how the study of pterosaurs can help aircraft designers
    Apparently, you need to prepare for a meeting with them, civilization is making a spiral spiral.
    1. Ilya-spb
      Ilya-spb April 16 2020 19: 48 New
      13
      In fact, such a science has long existed - bionics.

      She is engaged in adapting the capabilities of living organisms for technology.
      1. Mikhail m
        Mikhail m April 17 2020 06: 02 New
        +2
        There are no efficient muscle analogues. As well as devices with a flapping wing of a variable shape.
    2. Simargl
      Simargl April 17 2020 20: 59 New
      -1
      Quote: Dead Day
      civilization makes a spiral spiral.
      Pterosaurs have no civilization - they have died out.
      If we talk about convergent evolution - the birds will not give.
    3. krillon
      krillon April 17 2020 23: 00 New
      0
      According to research at that time, there was a slightly different, denser atmosphere on earth, which led to gigantism in various manifestations of flora and fauna. The fact that dinosaurs and pterodactyls did not survive is a direct confirmation of that atmosphere over the centuries has undergone changes. So how they repelled during takeoff has an exclusively scientific and educational interest.
      1. Simargl
        Simargl April 18 2020 20: 48 New
        -1
        Quote: Krillon
        According to research at that time, there was a slightly different, denser atmosphere on earth, which caused gigantism in various manifestations of flora and fauna.
        Point out those studies. Here is the fact that there was more oxygen (sometimes) - a fact. But not much.
        1. krillon
          krillon April 18 2020 22: 28 New
          +1
          Indicate how not much. I am sure that it’s enough, because in our time such suitcases with wings do not fly. Rather, they fly, due to the powerful motor.
          1. Simargl
            Simargl April 19 2020 18: 35 New
            -1
            Quote: Krillon
            Indicate how not much.
            Up to 35% relatively modern 21%.
            It would breathe easily.
  2. Amateur
    Amateur April 16 2020 19: 23 New
    +7
    Desiring to present something new and unexpected to the reader,
    I myself invented animals. I proceeded from the principle that,
    e.g. elephant, tiger, lion, monkey, mole, horse, pig and so
    further - long ago known to every reader of the "Animal World"
    and now you need to stir it up with something new,
    some discoveries. In the form of a test, I launched "sulfur
    whale. "This new whale species was cod-sized and stocked
    a bubble filled with formic acid, and a special
    cesspool devices; from it a sulfur whale released with an explosion
    special acid, which has an intoxicating effect on small
    a little fish eaten by this whale. Later, one English scientist,
    I don’t remember what name I came up with then
    acid "whale acid." Whale fat was known to everyone, but
    new whale acid aroused interest, and several readers
    asked the editors what company produces this acid in
    pure form.
    I dare to assure you that readers of the "Animal World" in general
    very curious.
    Following the sulfur whale, I discovered a number of others
    outlandish animals. I’ll call at least a “purge blast” -
    a mammal from the kangaroo family, the “edible bull” -
    the prototype of our cow and the "sepia ciliates" that I
    ranked as a family of rodents.

    Y. Hasek. The adventures of the brave soldier Schweik ...
  3. 7,62h54
    7,62h54 April 16 2020 19: 24 New
    +1
    Given the "achievements" of modern defective managers, it becomes clear that they studied and are studying single-celled and invertebrates. Otherwise, why do they use the inventions of Soviet designers, making only cosmetic changes.
    1. Simargl
      Simargl April 17 2020 20: 42 New
      -1
      Quote: 7,62x54
      Otherwise, why do they use the inventions of Soviet designers, making only cosmetic changes.
      The whole world is unicellular! Otherwise, why use arithmetic almost unchanged thousands years old?
  4. knn54
    knn54 April 16 2020 19: 27 New
    +6
    Someone said that bionics are great little things, peeped from nature.
    1. Pavel57
      Pavel57 April 16 2020 22: 06 New
      +3
      Man's greatest achievement is the wheel. In nature, in its pure form it is not.
      1. Nyrobsky
        Nyrobsky April 17 2020 01: 09 New
        +6
        Quote: Pavel57
        Man's greatest achievement is the wheel. In nature, in its pure form it is not.
        There is. This is the fossil of sea lilies, which is divided into wheels, which served as the prototype of the wheel. The man came up with the axis of how to connect these wheels into a single unit. And the greatest achievements of man are the time system, calendar and alphabet (letter), which made it possible to record and transmit accumulated knowledge.
        1. Pavel57
          Pavel57 April 17 2020 01: 50 New
          +2
          So the most important thing is not a round object, but a round one with a fixed axis. What is the wheel.
  5. Mouse
    Mouse April 16 2020 19: 35 New
    +9
    the thought does not stand still, it flies on ...
    If you do not take a step forward, then you take a step back ....
  6. APASUS
    APASUS April 16 2020 19: 44 New
    -2
    Have come! And where are these super computers, effective managers and other crap ....?
  7. EwgenyZ
    EwgenyZ April 16 2020 19: 55 New
    +3
    A very interesting thought, I think the knowledge gained on the flight of pterosaurs (not archosaurs, as the author says, archosaurs are the ancestors of crocodiles, and dinosaurs, and pterosaurs) could be used in the development of drones designed for long patrols (Quetzalcoatl flight is especially interesting here).
    1. Piramidon
      Piramidon April 16 2020 21: 21 New
      +7
      Quote: EwgenyZ
      A very interesting thought, I think the knowledge gained on the flight of pterosaurs (not archosaurs, as the author says, archosaurs are the ancestors of crocodiles, and dinosaurs, and pterosaurs) could be used in the development of drones designed for long patrols (Quetzalcoatl flight is especially interesting here).

      And who saw how these dinosaurs fly? Maybe they only knew how to plan, such as flying squirrels.
      1. Simple
        Simple April 17 2020 10: 21 New
        +1
        And then on foot to the nearest hill. laughing

        What was the atmosphere of several tens of millions of years ago?
        Gravity?
        The velocity of the earth around its axis?
        Yes, and the moon was much closer.
        The habitat of these flying dinosaurs?

        By simple extrapolation to modern conditions, not knowing the conditions of that time request .
        1. Piramidon
          Piramidon April 17 2020 10: 35 New
          +2
          Quote: Simple
          And then on foot to the nearest hill

          But who knows, maybe they could climb trees? There are no witnesses left. request
          1. Simple
            Simple April 17 2020 12: 45 New
            0
            To climb trees, you need to have well-developed forelimbs.

            Maybe in the full moon they just torn off the earth? laughing
            1. krillon
              krillon April 18 2020 22: 33 New
              0
              What makes a bat worse? The same thing, only the size did not come out. Sick ..
      2. EwgenyZ
        EwgenyZ April 17 2020 21: 25 New
        +1
        Quote: Piramidon
        Quote: EwgenyZ
        A very interesting thought, I think the knowledge gained on the flight of pterosaurs (not archosaurs, as the author says, archosaurs are the ancestors of crocodiles, and dinosaurs, and pterosaurs) could be used in the development of drones designed for long patrols (Quetzalcoatl flight is especially interesting here).

        And who saw how these dinosaurs fly? Maybe they only knew how to plan, such as flying squirrels.

        There is such a concept - comparative biology, this is when species living (living) in a similar habitat that have gone through convergent evolution are studied. In this case, we can compare the Quetzalcoatl pterosaur (length up to 12 m. Wingspan about 16 m.) And the albatross, most likely, there were similar flight mechanisms, but the "lizard" was much heavier than a modern bird, so it would be interesting to "calculate" how this colossus flew using data on the flight of albatrosses, and then applied in practice.
  8. parusnik
    parusnik April 16 2020 20: 14 New
    +5
    With totalitarianism, the KOAPP had an interesting program there, too, they discussed bionics problems ..
    1. Mouse
      Mouse April 16 2020 21: 07 New
      +7
      Quote: parusnik
      An interesting program was under totalitarianism KOAPP

      I remember such a cartoon ... wink
  9. Peter is not the first
    Peter is not the first April 16 2020 20: 19 New
    +5
    It is necessary to study the world of animals and the world of extinct animals, but to come up with the practical application of the mechanics of take-off and the flight of an extinct animal for use in modern aircraft manufacturing is like pulling an owl on a globe, and worthy of "British" scientists, no offense will be said.
  10. cniza
    cniza April 16 2020 20: 20 New
    +4
    Let's talk about science: how the study of pterosaurs can help aircraft designers


    For one and the other, the common goal is to fly, and the flights of reptiles were in constant improvement.
    1. minigor
      minigor April 16 2020 22: 16 New
      0
      Perhaps the conditions on earth were different! If the earth rotated faster, then this changes a lot! And such a weight was easier to lift into the air, and for the same reason, the giants on earth lived!
  11. voyaka uh
    voyaka uh April 16 2020 20: 27 New
    +1
    While the structural materials in aviation were wood, then aluminum,
    Now - carbon, the use of bionics was not enough. Only in flight theory.
    Only with the advent of nanomaterials: ultra-light, ultra-flexible, ultra-strong -
    imitation of the flight of birds, insects, all kinds of minerals has become practically applicable.
    Imagine a bat - a night scout. Silent flapping, no noise
    screws ....
    1. rich
      rich April 17 2020 02: 19 New
      +1
      It is no secret that some modern aircraft (including UAVs) were created after careful study and analysis of the movement of birds and insects. Their biomechanics often gave engineers an understanding of which design option for an airplane glider or an unmanned aerial vehicle, or a helicopter rotor circuit, could be optimal for solving a particular design problem.

      There is such a wonderful novel by V. Kiselev "Girl and Poultry." One of the best Soviet books about teenagers. The first time I read this book was a student. She sunk into my memory and after 50 years I again found it on the net and downloaded it.
      Ole Alekseeva is 13 years old. Someone will say - still quite a child! Can children really have real problems? But in this half-child-half-adult life there is already a place for a big pure dream, and first love, and for encounters with difficulties and troubles.
      Family, school, friends, a passion for chemistry, bionics and aviation, common business with friends, writing poetry, thinking about the future ... How hard it is to understand who you really are! And how difficult and sometimes painful it is to part with your long-term dream, to understand the world of adults and the many contradictions that they so eagerly let into their world


      I recommend to all. Be surprised, but the plot of this book is not related to the genre of fiction and, written more than 40 years ago, is closely intertwined with the plot of this article.
      link to download the book in various formats - https://bookscafe.net/book/kiselev_vladimir-devochka_i_pticelet-36983.html
  12. awdrgy
    awdrgy April 16 2020 20: 28 New
    +5
    - "The fact is that the ability to jump to a creature weighing several hundred kg to the height necessary for wingspan is not so great." Is there absolute clarity with the density of the medium at that time? As a question, "ballooning is probably not ballooning"
    1. Yura
      Yura April 16 2020 21: 37 New
      +1
      Quote: awdrgy
      Is there absolute clarity with the density of the medium at that time?

      A legitimate question, especially if you pay attention to the monstrosity of the sizes of individuals of the animal of the terrestrial, marine and plant worlds.
    2. minigor
      minigor April 16 2020 22: 12 New
      -1
      The fact is that if I am not mistaken, in those days there was a different gravity! I mean, there were completely different conditions! The earth rotated faster, so people were ..., you can say giants! Find the skeletons of three and even five meter people!
      1. awdrgy
        awdrgy April 16 2020 23: 07 New
        0
        Assumptions and theories about a denser atmosphere in those days, however, remain at that stage of the development of science. Maybe that was the main question here, what kind of pressure did dinosaurs and large creatures have and if the relationship between internal and atmospheric pressure is the same as now thanks to what mechanism did they simply “not explode the skull”? That is, if the relationship is the same as now, then the atmospheric pressure should have been higher (obviously due to a denser atmosphere) If the relationship was different, then what is its mechanism? (And these are already questions for physicists and physicians) We can certainly assume that they lived in some deepest quarries or hollows of the earth’s surface, but I think it’s to put it mildly "pull by ears"
      2. Polymer
        Polymer April 17 2020 19: 33 New
        +2
        Quote: minigor
        if I am not mistaken, in those days there was a different gravity!

        There is a hypothesis that the gravitational constant is not so constant. Those. during the time of the dinosaurs, the Earth's gravity was less, so they could be completely complex about the "excess weight". According to this hypothesis, our planet is constantly "growing" - it adds in both mass and diameter. The latter explains, in particular, continental drift.
    3. bondrostov
      bondrostov April 16 2020 23: 47 New
      +1
      Well, it was unlikely to be more than 1.5 atm. But oxygen seems to be 40% because the giants were
      1. awdrgy
        awdrgy April 16 2020 23: 49 New
        -1
        I honestly did not deal with this issue, so somewhere I heard well and purely my unprofessional assumptions
      2. bondrostov
        bondrostov April 16 2020 23: 55 New
        -2
        Well, about oxygen, this is a well-known fact, but with the pressure there it was obviously more difficult, it was no less than now, but no more, at least at least in the epic of dinosaurs. I immediately say that it was 2 - 3 billion years ago, it is not verifiable. But 100 -150 million ago 1.5 well, maybe 2 atm.
      3. il-z
        il-z April 17 2020 00: 45 New
        -1
        Oxygen could be about 10-15%, but carbon dioxide about 10%. This is when the ferns were large). Due to more CO2 and air density could be greater.
      4. grandfather_Kostya
        grandfather_Kostya April 17 2020 08: 45 New
        +2
        With oxygen at 40%, even wet grass and damp wood will burn no more than 30%. Then the dragonfly can grow up to 1 m.
        But the drone who knows how to land on a thin branch, we will not see soon.
      5. il-z
        il-z April 18 2020 14: 02 New
        0
        The sacred properties of oxygen are excessively exaggerated. In Soviet-era naive fiction, it was often explicitly stated that our civilization is a carbon-type civilization. In modern realities - life on earth has several distinctive features, one of which is: it is built from cells and uses a metabolism that focuses on the carbonyl group (C = O).
        I have not seen publicly available research on the effects of air in underground bunkers and submarines on personnel. From the pieces of information, my subjective opinion is as follows:
        - 10% of oxygen is sufficient for normal breathing, the main thing is that the air mixture has a weak negative charge;
        - CO2 is needed not only for plants but also for people to function effectively.
  13. Aviator_
    Aviator_ April 16 2020 21: 38 New
    +1
    All this is very interesting, but there is still no theory of flapping flight. It is complicated, but without it nothing normal will come of it.
    1. Polymer
      Polymer April 17 2020 19: 13 New
      +1
      The very first experimenter in this area finished very poorly - Icarus. Since then, it is scary for people to try flying with wings. wink
      1. Aviator_
        Aviator_ April 17 2020 20: 42 New
        0
        He was the first glider. The second glider is Otto Lilienthal, a great friend of N.E. Zhukovsky (even gave him his free-balanced glider, he was exhibited at the Zhukovsky Museum on Radio Street in Moscow), so Lilienthal finished the same way as Icarus. It is good that Zhukovsky first began to develop the theory of profile, TFKP applied fractional linear transformations, in fact, created aerodynamics, and did not rush to repeat the experiments of Ikar and Lilienthal.
  14. Undecim
    Undecim April 16 2020 22: 10 New
    +4
    He specifically looked at the publications of the British paleontologist Mark P. Witton, who is considered one of the world authorities in the study of pterosaurs.
    A paragraph from his article on Arambourgiania philadelphiae, Quetzalcoatlus northropi and Hatzegopteryx thambema, referred to in the article.
    I bring the translation right away.
    All hypotheses about flight, body weight, functional morphology, ecology and lifestyle remain contradictory.
    Therefore, it is not clear what the comrades mentioned in the article are studying, if scientists still argue about the length of the neck of Arambourgiania philadelphiae.
    1. Runoway
      Runoway April 17 2020 06: 00 New
      +1
      I support, still cannot understand why a bumblebee flies ??? (The maneuverability of a dragonfly is generally fantastic), and they resurrect a pterosaur
    2. il-z
      il-z April 17 2020 12: 53 New
      0
      In addition to another composition and pressure of atmospheric air, there could be several other physical constants, which draws other aerodynamics and physics of the processes of flight and movement of these large “beasts”. This explains why if most of those dinosaurs were in our space-time, they could only move in water.
      In fact, this assumption is not very and fantastic. IMHO if you compare the 70-80 years of XX century. with the present time, the difference between the passage of time then and now is very striking. Perhaps the duration of the second / hour has not changed much, but something affects our perception of the passage of time.
      The following conclusion: not everything that can be "spied" on nature can be understood or used effectively enough.
      1. Undecim
        Undecim April 17 2020 13: 16 New
        +2
        Perhaps the duration of the second / hour has not changed much, but something affects our perception of the passage of time.
        Exclusively idleness. The less busy a person, the longer the seconds and hours.
        Over the past 60 years, I have not noticed any changes.
        1. il-z
          il-z April 18 2020 10: 44 New
          0
          Despite the "idleness", time accelerated. A day is now like 32 hours in the 70s, 80s, 28hs in the 90s, 26hs in the 00s (of course this is subjective, but many of my interlocutors of different ages feel this differently).
  15. Grim Reaper
    Grim Reaper April 16 2020 22: 11 New
    +3
    Why can't a man fly?
    The question is posed incorrectly. Correctly:
    Why can't a man fly up?
    ;)
  16. orionvitt
    orionvitt April 16 2020 22: 22 New
    0
    how learning pterosaurs can help aircraft designers
    Yes, ask any specialist in aerodynamics, so he will give you a lecture on this topic, better than any paleozoologist. Everything has been studied for a long time (if I may say so).
  17. sanik2020
    sanik2020 April 17 2020 09: 54 New
    0
    In this century, we’ll fly on airplanes and then, fly on pterosallets.
  18. Glory1974
    Glory1974 April 17 2020 10: 32 New
    +2
    I remember reading in the journal "Science and Life" the article "Why does the May bug fly?"
    Very interesting. From the point of view of modern science, it cannot fly, because it is heavy, and the wings are small, they do not create lift. But he flies! In general, it all boils down to the fact that science can somehow explain the incident, but there is no way to calculate it yourself. As is the case with the weather: after the storm, everyone explains, but they can’t give a correct forecast for the week ahead.
    1. Polymer
      Polymer April 17 2020 19: 11 New
      +1
      Quote: glory1974
      "Why does the May bug fly?"

      There, it seems, was the hypothesis that with wings he creates a vacuum under the elytra?
      1. Glory1974
        Glory1974 April 18 2020 11: 03 New
        0
        was the hypothesis that with wings he creates a vacuum under the elytra?

        Yes, there was such an assumption. But how really?
        1. Polymer
          Polymer April 18 2020 13: 28 New
          0
          I have not seen anything on this topic anywhere else. The mechanics of flight are interesting, of course, and it would be nice to study it. But to be honest, the Maybug flyer is so-so ...
  19. John22
    John22 April 17 2020 18: 21 New
    0
    Especially quadrocopters are taken from nature!
  20. Simargl
    Simargl April 17 2020 20: 55 New
    -1
    The author opened ... an old book on paleontology ...
    with a wingspan of up to 13 meters,
    "sturgeon" must be cut a couple of meters.

    And these data are “not less than 200 kg for adults”.
    Not anymore. 40-60 kg - the upper possible bar. A 200 kg monster would flap its wings like a sparrow.

    Indeed, with a membrane device of wings with a wingspan of up to 13 m, a strong gust of wind could simply “blow off” the pterosaur “off course”.
    What wings are made of is not important at all. The main thing is sailing and aerodynamic quality.

    This, perhaps, is the case when paleontology can very well help the modern aircraft design school with non-standard solutions.
    From the category - how to do it is not necessary? After all, they became extinct and did not give offspring.

    It is believed that such an option would help the robotic drones to fly into the air with less fuel, which are necessary during the runway run.
    Who is this? As many drones exist - for the most part they take off from a catapult: a powder accelerator, a slingshot, a hand ...