Marine Applications of the Biomimetic Humpback Whale Flipper

$28.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)

Buy Article:



The biomimetic approach seeks technological advancement through a transfer of technology from natural technologies to engineered systems. The morphology of the wing-like flipper of the humpback whale has potential for marine applications. As opposed to the straight leading edge of conventional hydrofoils, the humpback whale flipper has a number of sinusoid-like rounded bumps, called tubercles, which are arranged periodically along the leading edge. The presence of the tubercles modifies the water flow over the wing-like surface, creating regions of vortex generation between the tubercles. These vortices interact with the flow over the tubercle and accelerate that flow, helping to maintain a partially attached boundary layer. This hydrodynamic effect can delay stall to higher angles of attack, increases lift, and reduces drag compared to the post-stall condition of conventional wings. As the humpback whale functions in the marine environment in a Reynolds regime similar to some engineered marine systems, the use of tubercles has the potential to enhance the performance of wing-like structures. Specific applications of the tubercles for marine technology include sailboat masts, fans, propellers, turbines, and control surfaces, such as rudders, dive planes, stabilizers, spoilers, and keels.

Keywords: Megaptera novaeangliae; bio-inspired design; delayed stall; leading edge; tubercles

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
  • Editorial Board
  • Submit a Paper
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Membership Information
  • Information for Advertisers
  • ingentaconnect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
Related content



Share Content

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
ingentaconnect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more