Moving at the air-water inferface
Par Elie Raphael, DR CNRS, ESPCI, Laboratoire Gulliver, Paris
Mardi 27 Mars, 14h, Salle des séminaires (215), 2ème étage, Bâtiment A4N
It is generally believed that in order to generate waves, a small object (like an insect) moving at the air-water surface must exceed the minimum wave speed (about 23 centimeters per second). We show that this result is only valid for a rectilinear uniform motion, an assumption often overlooked in the literature. In the case of a steady circular motion (a situation of particular importance for the study of whirligig beetles), we demonstrate that no such velocity threshold exists and that even at small velocities a finite wave drag is experienced by the object. This wave drag originates from the emission of a spiral-like wave pattern. The results presented should be important for a better understanding of the propulsion of water-walking insects. For example, it would be very interesting to know if whirligig beetles can take advantage of such spirals for echolocation purposes.