Daffodils Dancing in the Wind – Biomimicry for Young Children

The poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” or Daffodils was composed in 1804, two years after Wordsworth saw the flowers while walking by Ullswater. It was a stormy day and the inspiration for the poem came from a description of the event written by his sister Dorothy.

Through our curious biomimicry lens we were amazed by the daffodils ability to twist in the cold Spring wind.

How do these beautiful and delicate Spring flowers survive in the gusty winds?

If you look at a daffodil you see that the flowers are to one side of their stems.

Why?

If you watch a strong wind coming you see the stem responds by twisting and the flowers reorient themselves. This means that they face less severe wind which is important since close to the ground the winds are especially gusty. The drag is reduced by 30 percent which is quite a lot. Tulips is another Spring flower that also have flowers on long stems. These stems of these spring flowers have low torsional stiffness.

When is it good to reduce the drag from strong and gusty winds?

Imagine a sport overall that is flexible and helps you to run fast despite gusty winds. Houses built in coastal windy cities or wind towers that flex with the winds.

Wind turbines are controversial, some even call they ugly and visually awful, so we gave them a Spring makeover. Many winds turbines are very tall, 100 metres or 328 feet. But these charming daffodils wind-turbines are not that tall and rather than being stiff steel constructions these are made of a softer and more flexible material. And amazingly they can catch all types of winds even very soft summer breezes. . . after all flowers flutter and dance in all types of breezes.

Since Spring means more sun, hopefully, we decided that the daffodil wind turbines could have solar cells on the blades as well. Daffo SunWind Turbines!

daffo1

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud (or “Daffodils” by William Wordsworth)

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Featured Photo Flickr psyberartist

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