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High Technology Imitating Scales of Shark

Posted March. 20, 2002 08:51,   


What make sharks swim well are the small processes on the scales.

When you swimming, whirlpools are created on the skin. Hence, frictional resistance increases causing swimming speed late. Small processes on the scales of a shark, however, drive the whirlpools away lessening the friction and increasing swimming speed.

This secret of shark scales is being actively used for transportation vehicles like car, airplane, submarine and swimming suit, which have friction of water or air.

Japanese tire company Bridgestone put out a tire to which the principle of shark scales is applied. It made minute processes like shark scales in the grooves of the tire so that it can run without whirlpools of air or water.

Airplanes also have artificial shark scales on their bodies. U.S. 3M developed a film with processes like shark scales, and U.S. Air liner Cathay Pacific put the film on the airplane body.

Choi Hae-Cheon Seoul National University professor (mechanical and aerospace engineering) found out in 1992 that the artificial shark scales on the airplane body decrease the air friction by 8 percent. Aircrafts can reduce the consumption of fuel with a little air friction decrease. The principle of shark scale is applied to submarines.

Recently, swimmers are establishing new world records by swimming with artificial shark scales. It was the swimming suit covering whole body, which appeared at Sydney Olympic in 2000. Previously, a yacht with shark scales won 1st prize attracting attention.