A wing is a type of fin with a surface that produces lift for flight or propulsion through the atmosphere, or through another gaseous or liquid fluid. As such, wings have an airfoil shape, a streamlined cross-sectional shape producing a useful lift to drag ratio.
The word "wing" from the Old Norse vængr for many centuries referred mainly to the foremost limbs of birds (in addition to the architectural aisle.) But in recent centuries the word's meaning has extended to include lift producing appendages of insects, bats, pterosaurs, boomerangs, some sail boats and aircraft, or the inverted airfoil on a race car that generates a downward force to increase traction.
Various species of penguins and other flighted or flightless water birds such as auks, cormorants, guillemots, shearwaters, eider and scoter ducks and diving petrels are avid swimmers, and use their wings to propel through water.
A wing's aerodynamic quality is expressed as its lift-to-drag ratio. The lift a wing generates at a given speed and angle of attack can be one to two orders of magnitude greater than the total drag on the wing. A high lift-to-drag ratio requires a significantly smaller thrust to propel the wings through the air at sufficient lift.
Read more about Wing: The Aerodynamics of Wings, Design Features
Famous quotes containing the word wing:
“Two such as you with such a master speed
Cannot be parted nor be swept away
From one another once you are agreed
That life is only life forevermore
Together wing to wing and oar to oar.”
—Robert Frost (18741963)
“Sweet Cupids shafts, like destiny,
Doth causeless good or ill decree.
Desert is born out of his bow,
Reward upon his wing doth go.
What fools are they that have not known
That Love likes no laws but his own!”
—Fulke Greville (15541628)
“I could replace
God for awhile, that old ring of candles,
that owls wing brushing the dew
off my grass hair.”
—Denise Levertov (b. 1923)