Georgia Tech researchers used high-speed videography to determine how it is possible for a mosquito to fly through a downpour despite the fact that a single raindrop’s weight can be 50 times more than the mosquito’s. They found the mosquito’s strong exoskeleton and low mass render it impervious to falling raindrops. The research team, led by assistant professor of mechanical engineering and biology David Hu and his doctoral student Andrew Dickerson, found that mosquitoes receive low impact forces from raindrops because the mass of mosquitoes causes raindrops to lose little momentum upon impact. What the researchers learned about mosquito flight could be used to enhance the design and features of micro-airborne vehicles, which are increasingly being used by law enforcement and the military in surveillance and search-and-rescue operations.
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Andrew K. Dickerson, Peter G. Shankles, Nihar M. Madhavan, and David L. Hu