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Secret of Flying Dandelion Seeds

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The researchers think the discovery could inform the design of tiny airborne drones
The researchers think the discovery could inform the design of tiny airborne drones(Credit: alexsvirid/Depositphotos)

Carried by the wind, dandelion seeds can travel enormous distances of more than a kilometer (0.6 miles). Now, researchers at The University of Edinburgh have discovered that this is thanks to a remarkable form of flight never before seen in nature.

The distances are achieved because of what the researchers call “the separated vortex ring” which sees the seed bristles, collectively called the pappus, create ring-shaped air bubbles. These form vertically above the pappus, increasing air-resistance and slowing descent much like a parachute.

Remarkably, the air bubble is actually made more stable as air flows through it. And that flow is regulated by the particular spacing of the seed’s bristles. Perhaps counter-intuitively it’s the relatively high porosity of the pappus that helps keep its flight stable.

The separated vortex ring can be seen in the right-hand image

Above: The separated vortex ring can be seen in the right-hand image

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About the Common Constitutionalist

Brent, aka The Common Constitutionalist, is a Constitutional Conservative, and advocates for first principles, founders original intent and enemy of progressives. He is former Navy, Martial Arts expert. As well as publisher of the Common Constitutionalist blog, he also is a contributing writer for Political Outcast, Godfather Politics, Minute Men News (Liberty Alliance), Freedom Outpost, the Daily Caller, Vision To America and Free Republic. He also writes an exclusive weekly column for World Net Daily (WND).

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