Biologists hypothesize that thousands of micro-scale hairs found on bat wings function as a network of air-flow sensors as part of a biological feedback flow control loop. In this work, we investigate hair-cell sensors as a means of detecting flow features in an unsteady separating flow over a cylinder. Individual hair-cell sensors were modeled using an Euler-Bernoulli beam equation forced by the fluid flow. When multiple sensor simulations are combined into an array of hair-cells, the response is shown to detect the onset and span of flow reversal, the upstream movement of the point of zero wall shear-stress, and the formation and growth of eddies near the wall of a cylinder. A linear algebraic hair-cell model, written as a function of the flow velocity, is also derived and shown to capture the same features as the hair-cell array simulation

Meeting Name

26th AIAA Aerodynamic Measurement Technology and Ground Testing Conference


Mathematics and Statistics

Keywords and Phrases

Euler-Bernoulli Beam Equation; Hair Cells

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2008 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jun 2008