Contact: Kathy Svitil
California Institute of Technology
Caption: Smoke particles illuminated with laser light around a freely flying maple seed reveal a prominent leading edge vortex. The visualization of the leading edge vortex on this and 31 other specimens of maple seeds show that the robotic model maple seeds accurately predicted the presence of a strong tornado-like vortex on top of maple seed wings, that elevates the lift generated by autorotating plant seeds and increases their dispersal distance from the tree.
Credit: Movie courtesy of David Lentink
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