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The Physics of Bird Flight: An Experiment
The Physics Teacher (2008)
  • Michael D. Mihail
  • Thomas F. George, University of Missouri
  • Bernard J. Feldman, University of Missouri–St. Louis
This article describes an experiment that measures the forces acting on a flying bird during takeoff. The experiment uses a minimum of equipment and only an elementary knowledge of kinematics and Newton's second law. The experiment involves first digitally videotaping a bird during takeoff, analyzing the video to determine the bird's position as a function of time and its flapping rate, calculating the velocity of the bird's wings, and finally, inserting those results into Newton's second law of physics. The experiment has been designed for a high school physics class. This article is a follow-up on our recently published theoretical article on the origin of bird flight.
Publication Date
January 3, 2008
Citation Information
Michael D. Mihail, Thomas F. George and Bernard J. Feldman. "The Physics of Bird Flight: An Experiment" The Physics Teacher Vol. 46 Iss. 3 (2008) p. 155 - 157
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