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The Wing of the Dragonfly

The Wing of the Dragonfly

 Was It Designed?

The Wing of the Dragonfly

● Certain dragonflies can glide for 30 seconds without any significant loss in altitude. Their secret? An aerodynamic wing that is unlike any manufactured by the aircraft industry!

Consider: The microthin wing of the dragonfly is corrugated, with pleats that prevent it from bending. Scientists have found that the pleats also give the dragonfly greater lift while gliding. “This is because air circulates in the cavities between pleats, creating areas of very low drag that aid the lift-generating airflow across the wing,” says New Scientist magazine.

After studying the wing of the dragonfly, aerospace engineer Abel Vargas and his colleagues concluded that “biologically inspired wings are very relevant in the design of micro-aerial vehicles.” Armed with a camera or other equipment, such palm-size flying robots have a number of practical uses, from obtaining information from disaster locations to monitoring pollution levels.

What do you think? Did the microthin, pleated wing of the dragonfly come about by chance? Or was it designed?

[Picture on page 25]

The dragonfly microdrone (microaerial vehicle) weighs 120 milligrams (.004 ounce), is six centimeters (2.4 inches) wide, and has wafer-thin silicon wings that flap when powered by electricity

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© Philippe Psaila/​Photo Researchers, Inc.