The Answer Is Blowin’ in the Wind
“For thou, LORD, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands.”
When you were a child, did you ever stick your arm out of the window of your car as it traveled at high speed? If so, you will remember how the fast-moving air currents would push your arm up, down, up, down and so forth.
As an article at the Engineering 360 website tells us, “Side forces come into play whenever wind flows across an elongated object – as when an arm is projected out the side of a moving car. As the air flows around the arm, it forms vortices that come off the top and bottom of the arm in an alternating fashion. This vortex shedding, as it is called, imparts periodic forces on the arm.”
The article goes on to say that this phenomenon “affects any elongated structure caught in wind or water currents, such as lampposts, high rises and the long vertical pipes used for drilling oil at sea.” It can even cause a bridge to collapse – like the Tacoma Narrows suspension bridge in the state of Washington.
This is why scientists are looking for ways to reduce these forces, and they think they may have found the solution in the shape of daffodil stems. Their twisting, lemon-shaped cross-section enables daffodils to turn away from wind and protect its petals – just like their Creator planned. By studying the unique geometry of daffodil stems, engineers hope to be able to design more stable structures in the future.
Prayer: Oh Lord, thank You for Your ingenious designs that enable humans to live better and safer lives. I pray that scientists and engineers will recognize that such wonderful designs come directly from You! Amen.
Author: Steven J. Schwartz
Ref: “Daffodils Inspire Design of Stable Structures,” Engineering 360, 5/24/16. Photo: In 1940, the Tacoma Narrows bridge collapsed during wind gusts of 42 miles per hour. (Fair Use)
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