Skip to content

May 16, 2014

3D printing shows why sharks are so deadly efficient

by John_A

A shark’s fearsome teeth don’t end in its mouth, as its skin is also made up of millions of sharp, microscopic “denticles.” That roughness helps sharks slip through the water more efficiently by reducing drag, but how exactly? To better understand, Harvard researchers studied a Mako shark’s skin, then figured out how to 3D print a simulated version onto a flexible substrate (see below). As expected, the faux sharkskin reduced drag significantly at slower speeds, but surprisingly increased drag in faster currents. After adding a simulated swimming motion, however, efficiency improved dramatically — showing that denticles only work in concert with a shark’s sinuous movement. All that helps them swim seven percent faster and burn six percent less energy than if their skin was smooth. That might not seem like a lot, but let’s see you hunt down and kill a seal with your bare teeth. (A decoy seal is pictured above.)

[Image credit: Discovery Channel]

[Image credit: James Weaver]

Filed under: Science, Alt

Comments

Via: iO9

Source: Journal of Experimental Biology

Read more from News

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Note: HTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to comments

%d bloggers like this: