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Shark’s Skin May Yield Low-Drag Designs

Credit: UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA

Golf pro Greg Norman is nicknamed the “Great White Shark,” a moniker that’s not incongruous to researchers at the University of Alabama. A team led by Amy Lang, assistant professor of engineering, found that some sharks have enamel scales 200 microns (0.007 in.) long across parts of their skin. When bristled they reduce drag and increase swimming speed to upward of 60 mph. for some sharks. Lang and her team developed similar scales 2 cm. (0.78 in.) long (see photo) and set them at 90-deg. angles on artificial skin.


 

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