Leading-edge tubercles delay stall on humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) flippers

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) is exceptional among the baleen whales in its ability to undertake acrobatic underwater maneuvers to catch prey. In order to execute these banking and turning maneuvers, humpback whales utilize extremely mobile flippers. The humpback whale flipper is unique because of the presence of large protuberances or tubercles located on the leading edge which gives this surface a scalloped appearance. We show, through wind tunnel measurements, that the addition of leading-edge tubercles to a scale model of an idealized humpback whale flipper delays the stall angle by approximately 40%, while increasing lift and decreasing drag. © 2004 American Institute of Physics.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Miklosovic, DS; Murray, MM; Howle, LE; Fish, FE

Published Date

  • January 1, 2004

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 16 / 5

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1070-6631

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1063/1.1688341

Citation Source

  • Scopus