Comparative Biomechanics: Life's Physical World

Comparative Biomechanics: Life's Physical World

by Steven Vogel

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Why do you shift from walking to running at a particular speed? How can we predict transition speeds for animals of different sizes? Why must the flexible elastic of arterial walls behave differently than a rubber tube or balloon? How do leaves manage to expose a broad expanse of surface while suffering only a small fraction of the drag of flags in high winds?

The field of biomechanics—how living things move and work—hasn't seen a new general textbook in more than two decades. Here a leading investigator and teacher lays out the key concepts of biomechanics using examples drawn from throughout the plant and animal kingdoms. Up-to-date and comprehensive, this is also the only book to give thorough coverage to both major subfields of biomechanics: fluid and solid mechanics.

Steven Vogel explains how biomechanics makes use of models and methods drawn from physics and mechanical engineering to investigate a wide range of general questions—from how animals swim and fly and the modes of terrestrial locomotion to the way organisms respond to wind and water currents and the operation of circulatory and suspension-feeding systems. He looks also at the relationships between the properties of biological materials—spider silk, jellyfish jelly, muscle, and more—and their various structural and functional roles.

While written primarily for biology majors and graduate students in biology, this text will be useful for physical scientists and engineers seeking a sense of the state of the art of biomechanics and a guide to its rather scattered literature. For a still wider audience, it establishes the basic biological context for such applied areas as ergonomics, orthopedics, mechanical prosthetics, kinesiology, sports medicine, and biomimetics.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400840953
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 09/19/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 582
File size: 12 MB
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About the Author

Steven Vogel is James B. Duke Professor of Biology at Duke University. He is the author of Vital Circuits, Cats' Paws and Catapults and, from Princeton, Life in Moving Fluids and the prize-winning Life's Devices.

Table of Contents

Preface vii
PART ONE Life's Physical Context 1
1 Preambulations 3
2 Setting the Stage 11
3 More Tools 29
PART TWO Fluids 51
4 Gases and Liquids: Fluids at Rest 53
5 Gases Meet Liquids: The Interface 71
6 Viscosity and the Patterns of Flow 87
7 The Forces of Flow 111
8 Fluid Events Near Surfaces 141
9 Where Flows Are Inside 163
10 More about Circulatory Systems 183
11 Flows in Small Worlds 207
12 About Lift 225
13 Thrust for Flying and Swimming 251
14 Motion at the Air-Water Interface 271
PART THREE Solids and Structures 285
15 A Matter of Materials 287
16 Biological Materials: Tuning Properties Properly 313
17 Biological Materials: Cracks and Composites 329
18 More about Complex Materials: Viscoelasticity 347
19 Simple Structures: Beams, Columns, Shells 363
20 Less Simple Structural Matters 389
21 Hydrostatic Structures, Hydraulic Devices 407
22 Structural Systems 425
23 Motility and Mobility 449
24 Using Muscle: Tuning and Transmissions 473
25 Getting Around on Land 491
PART FOUR The Contexts of Biomechanics 513
26 Loose Ends and Perspectives 515
1 Quantification: Rules of the Road 537
2 Motion and Direction 547
3 Size and Scaling 553
List of Symbols 565
References and Index of Citations 567
Subject Index 601

What People are Saying About This

Mark Denny

It is always a pleasure to read a book by Steven Vogel. In Comparative Biomechanics, he presents a wealth of new fun facts and quirky insights while providing the first concise single-volume overview of the entire breadth of biomechanics. Up until now, anyone teaching a general course had to rely on at least two texts. This book represents an immense job by an author who is conversant with the whole field and an expert hand in cutting to the core of its principles.
Mark Denny, Stanford University

R. McNeill Alexander

Authoritative, beautifully written, witty, and accessible, this book is the first general treatment of comparative biomechanics for undergraduate students in almost twenty years.
R. McNeill Alexander, Fellow of the Royal Society, University of Leeds

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