Frequent Flyer: Dandelion Seeds

on November 1, 2019

With one gigantic breath of air, children can send dandelion seeds flying up to 500 miles away. How’s that possible, without a motor and wings?

Scientists already knew these seeds use the wind as their “jet fuel,” but until recently they didn’t know how the seeds stayed afloat so long. They discovered that the dandelion’s tiny white bristles take advantage of a unique property of air, creating their own vortices to increase flight time.

To study these tiny structures, scientists used a small wind tunnel and high-speed video. To their surprise, as the air moved through the fluffy tops, it formed a low-pressure bubble overhead. The circle of bristles acts like a tiny parachute but with four times the efficiency.

In the future, scientists hope to mimic the unique design of the dandelion “parachutes” in new drones that can fly for longer periods of time.

The Creator reveals his meticulous design in even the smallest parts of his creation, including pesky weeds (Matthew 6:28).

This article was taken from Answers magazine, May–June, 2019, 40.