Dandy Designs
Sunflower’s Hydraulic Design
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Hydraulic sun-tracker power steering.


Sunflowers are very common flowers which are not only beautiful but also good for food. They produce seeds which are eaten by humans as well as a variety of birds and mammals. Native Americans first domesticated sunflowers for food thousands of years ago.

Sunflowers come in many sizes, but the largest ones can reach 12 feet tall with a flower head that is a foot or more in diameter. The head is not really one blossom, but a cluster of hundreds of ray flowers around the edge and disc flowers in the center. It is the disc flowers which produce the seeds.

Sunflowers have a capacity known as phototropism or heliotropism, the ability to rotate their head so that they always face the sun as it moves across the sky. In the morning the flowers face east, and at sunset they face west.

This tracking of the sun is accomplished by a hydraulic system built into the stem. Water accumulates on the shady side of the stem, and as the pressure builds it forces the head in a steady arc toward the direction of the light. Because it is a hydraulic system and a fluid is being used, the pressure is distributed uniformly on the back surface of the head so it does no damage to the plant while providing enough force to move a large surface in a 180 degree arc.

Hydraulic systems are used in many mechanical devices that man has created such as cars, trucks, airplanes, trains, and earth moving equipment. Engineers carefully design these systems in order for them to work. Intelligence is needed to design a system that will function with great force without damaging the object being steered or stopped

Intelligent engineering went into the design of the sunflower in order to use a complex system to move its large and heavy head toward the source of the energy that makes it work. The more we learn about the sunflower the more we see the wisdom and planning of the Designer.

“sunflower,” Wikipedia




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