Using an Owls ability to hunt silently as a guide, researchers may have discovered a way to muffle the sound of wind turbines, via Engineering.com
Many species of owl are able to hunt in effective silence by suppressing their noise at sound frequencies above 1.6 kilohertz (kHz) – over the range that can be heard by humans.
A team of researchers studying the acoustics of owl flight—including Justin W. Jaworski, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and mechanics at Lehigh University—is working to pinpoint the mechanisms that accomplish this virtual silence in order to improve the aerodynamic design of wind turbines, aircraft, naval ships and even automobiles.
Now, the team has succeeded—through physical experiments and theoretical modeling—in using the downy canopy of owl feathers as a model to inspire the design of a 3D-printed, wing attachment that reduces wind turbine noise by 10 decibels without impacting aerodynamics.
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