Maple Seeds Remain Airborne for Long Periods of Time


When a maple seed rotates in the air, it forms a small vortex of air at the wing (a wingtip vortex). Air pressure falls at the top of the wing and lifts the seed upward, allowing the seed to remain airborne for long periods of time. A fine balance between the weight of the seed and the length of the wing makes the unique rotation of the maple seed possible.

Functional Classification

Use of natural phenomena
Efficiency(Energy Saving, Resource Saving, Light):
Air or water resistance evasion

Environmental Solution Classification

Related Literature

Technical Application

Knowledge of maple seed formation has been used to create a new single-blade ceiling fan that consumes less energy and produces less noise than traditional ceiling fans.

Products and Services

  • New single-blade ceiling fan.

Type of Business

Proposals of Applied Technology

The maple seed structure can be applied to the creation of miniature helicopters, super-compact unmanned vehicles, and landing parachutes for robots that explore other planets. It could also be used to develop machines and fans that optimize the flow of air and water.

Proposals of Applied Industry

Related Nature-Tech

Hovering Hummingbirds
Measuring only a few centimeters long and weighing a few grams, hummingbirds are very small birds that beat their wings at a speed of about 80 times per minute. Hummingbirds can drink the nectar from flowers while hovering (staying stationary in the air). They hover differently from both other birds and insects. Birds usually gain lifting power for flying by bringing their wings down. Insects gain equal lifting power from moving their wings in an upward and downward motion. Hummingbirds’ flight mechanics lie between these two types: they gain 75% of the lifting power needed by bringing their wings down; the other 25% comes from lifting their wings up.

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