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Princeton University Press
Comparative Biomechanics: Life's Physical World - Second Edition / Edition 2

Comparative Biomechanics: Life's Physical World - Second Edition / Edition 2

by Steven VogelSteven Vogel
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The classic textbook on comparative biomechanics—revised and expanded

Why do you switch from walking to running at a specific speed? Why do tall trees rarely blow over in high winds? And why does a spore ejected into air at seventy miles per hour travel only a fraction of an inch? Comparative Biomechanics is the first and only textbook that takes a comprehensive look at the mechanical aspects of life—covering animals and plants, structure and movement, and solids and fluids. An ideal entry point into the ways living creatures interact with their immediate physical world, this revised and updated edition examines how the forms and activities of animals and plants reflect the materials available to nature, considers rules for fluid flow and structural design, and explores how organisms contend with environmental forces.

Drawing on physics and mechanical engineering, Steven Vogel looks at how animals swim and fly, modes of terrestrial locomotion, organism responses to winds and water currents, circulatory and suspension-feeding systems, and the relationship between size and mechanical design. He also investigates links between the properties of biological materials—such as spider silk, jellyfish jelly, and muscle—and their structural and functional roles. Early chapters and appendices introduce relevant physical variables for quantification, and problem sets are provided at the end of each chapter. Comparative Biomechanics is useful for physical scientists and engineers seeking a guide to state-of-the-art biomechanics. For a wider audience, the textbook establishes the basic biological context for applied areas—including ergonomics, orthopedics, mechanical prosthetics, kinesiology, sports medicine, and biomimetics—and provides materials for exhibit designers at science museums.
  • Problem sets at the ends of chapters
  • Appendices cover basic background information
  • Updated and expanded documentation and materials
  • Revised figures and text
  • Increased coverage of friction, viscoelastic materials, surface tension, diverse modes of locomotion, and biomimetics

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691155661
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 06/17/2013
Edition description: Second
Pages: 640
Product dimensions: 8.30(w) x 10.00(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

Steven Vogel is James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Biology at Duke University. His numerous books include Glimpses of Creatures in Their Physical Worlds (Princeton) and Cats' Paws and Catapults (Norton).

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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