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Hot wings : thermal impacts of wing coloration on surface temperature during bird flight

Svana Rogalla (UGent) , Liliana D'Alba Altamirano (UGent) , Ann Verdoodt (UGent) and Matthew Shawkey (UGent)
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Abstract
Recent studies on bird flight propose that hotter wing surfaces reduce skin friction drag, thereby improving flight efficiency (lift-to-drag ratio). Darker wings may in turn heat up faster under solar radiation than lighter wings. We used three methods to test the impact of colour on wing surface temperature. First, we modelled surface temperature based on reflectance measurements. Second, we used thermal imaging on live ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) to examine surface temperature changes with increasing solar irradiance. Third, we experimentally heated differently coloured wings in a wind tunnel and measured wing surface temperature at realistic flight speeds. Even under simulated flight conditions, darker wings consistently became hotter than pale wings. In white wings with black tips, the temperature differential produced convective currents towards the darker wing tips that could lead to an increase in lift. Additionally, a temperature differential between wing-spanning warm muscles and colder flight feathers could delay the flow separation above the wing, increasing flight efficiency. Together, these results suggest that wing coloration and muscle temperature both play important roles in modulating wing surface temperature and therefore potentially flight efficiency.
Keywords
colour, wing surface temperature, radiative heating, wind tunnel, bird flight, thermography, HEAT-TRANSFER, INFRARED THERMOGRAPHY, MIGRATING BIRDS, COAT COLOR, PLUMAGE, FEMALE, RADAR, GAIN, DRAG

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MLA
Rogalla, Svana, et al. “Hot Wings : Thermal Impacts of Wing Coloration on Surface Temperature during Bird Flight.” JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY INTERFACE, vol. 16, no. 156, 2019.
APA
Rogalla, S., D’Alba Altamirano, L., Verdoodt, A., & Shawkey, M. (2019). Hot wings : thermal impacts of wing coloration on surface temperature during bird flight. JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY INTERFACE, 16(156).
Chicago author-date
Rogalla, Svana, Liliana D’Alba Altamirano, Ann Verdoodt, and Matthew Shawkey. 2019. “Hot Wings : Thermal Impacts of Wing Coloration on Surface Temperature during Bird Flight.” JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY INTERFACE 16 (156).
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Rogalla, Svana, Liliana D’Alba Altamirano, Ann Verdoodt, and Matthew Shawkey. 2019. “Hot Wings : Thermal Impacts of Wing Coloration on Surface Temperature during Bird Flight.” JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY INTERFACE 16 (156).
Vancouver
1.
Rogalla S, D’Alba Altamirano L, Verdoodt A, Shawkey M. Hot wings : thermal impacts of wing coloration on surface temperature during bird flight. JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY INTERFACE. 2019;16(156).
IEEE
[1]
S. Rogalla, L. D’Alba Altamirano, A. Verdoodt, and M. Shawkey, “Hot wings : thermal impacts of wing coloration on surface temperature during bird flight,” JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY INTERFACE, vol. 16, no. 156, 2019.
@article{8651438,
  abstract     = {Recent studies on bird flight propose that hotter wing surfaces reduce skin friction drag, thereby improving flight efficiency (lift-to-drag ratio). Darker wings may in turn heat up faster under solar radiation than lighter wings. We used three methods to test the impact of colour on wing surface temperature. First, we modelled surface temperature based on reflectance measurements. Second, we used thermal imaging on live ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) to examine surface temperature changes with increasing solar irradiance. Third, we experimentally heated differently coloured wings in a wind tunnel and measured wing surface temperature at realistic flight speeds. Even under simulated flight conditions, darker wings consistently became hotter than pale wings. In white wings with black tips, the temperature differential produced convective currents towards the darker wing tips that could lead to an increase in lift. Additionally, a temperature differential between wing-spanning warm muscles and colder flight feathers could delay the flow separation above the wing, increasing flight efficiency. Together, these results suggest that wing coloration and muscle temperature both play important roles in modulating wing surface temperature and therefore potentially flight efficiency.},
  articleno    = {20190032},
  author       = {Rogalla, Svana and D'Alba Altamirano, Liliana and Verdoodt, Ann and Shawkey, Matthew},
  issn         = {1742-5689},
  journal      = {JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY INTERFACE},
  keywords     = {colour,wing surface temperature,radiative heating,wind tunnel,bird flight,thermography,HEAT-TRANSFER,INFRARED THERMOGRAPHY,MIGRATING BIRDS,COAT COLOR,PLUMAGE,FEMALE,RADAR,GAIN,DRAG},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {156},
  pages        = {14},
  title        = {Hot wings : thermal impacts of wing coloration on surface temperature during bird flight},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsif.2019.0032},
  volume       = {16},
  year         = {2019},
}

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