Fish and birds are able to move in groups without segregating or colliding because of the newly discovered dynamics: followers interact with the trail left by the leaders. The find offers new insights into the movement of animals and points to potential ways of using energy from natural resources such as rivers or winds.
"The air or water flows that are formed during a flight or swimming can prevent collisions and divisions, allowing people with different movements to travel together," explains Joel Nyobolt, a PhD student at the Department of Physics at New York University and lead author of the study that appears in Notifications of the National Academy of Sciences, "In particular, this phenomenon allows slower followers to deal with the faster leaders by surfing after them."
In a broader sense, the study opens up opportunities for better capture of natural resources to generate wind and water energy.
"While we are currently using wind and water to meet our energy needs, our work offers new ways to make them more efficient when looking for new ways to improve sustainable practices," said Liffeurre, one of the co-authors of the report and an assistant . Professor at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University.
It is well known that animals such as fish and birds often travel in groups but the details of these interactions in schools and herds are not fully understood.
To investigate the effects of flotation movements and flow interactions on group movement, the researchers conducted a series of experiments at the Courant Institute's Applied Mathematics Lab. Here they designed a robotic "school" of two underwater wings that simulate wings and fins that swing up and down and swim forward. The movement of each foil was driven by an engine, while the swimming movements were free and flowing from the water pressure on the foil while they were moving.
Researchers, who also included John Zhang, professor at the Quran Institute, Department of Physics at New York University and Shanghai University of New York, diversified the speed of movement to provide faster and slower swimmers and flyers.
The process can be seen here: https:
The results showed that a pair of foils with different waving movements that would float or fly at different speeds when alone are actually able to move together without splitting or colliding due to the interaction of the follower with the trail left by the driver ,
In particular, the follower "surfs" in different ways on the trail left by the leader. If he persists, the follower experiences a "push" forward of this awakening; but if it moves too fast, the follower is "repelled" by the awake leader.
"These mechanisms create a few" sweet places "for a follower when they are behind a leader," Zhang notes.
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