Shark skin shapes aerodynamics
Harvard researchers and a team from the
University of South Carolina have come up
with a shark-inspired concept to improve
efficiencies and speed in cars, drones,
and wind turbines.
It turns out that a shark’s unique skin is
covered in denticles, thousands of small
scales, varying in shape and size for different
parts of its body. Sharks use the
shape of their bodies to increase lift and
decrease drag as they move through water,
and airplanes do the same thing to move
through the air, making the fish ideal for
research into airfoils – the aerodynamic
cross-section of a plane wing.
The shortfin mako was a focal point for
the researchers. Using micro CT scanning
on the shapes of its denticles to model
and print them in 3-D - they then printed
the shapes onto an airfoil.
The next step was testing it from inside
a water flow tank using 20 different arrangements
of denticle sizes, rows and
row positions. They found that by acting
as high-powered, low-profile vortex
generators, the denticles on the airfoil
significantly increased lift.
"These shark-inspired vortex generators
achieve lift-to-drag ratio improvements
of up to 323% compared to an airfoil
without vortex generators," says co-first
author of the paper, August Domel. "With
these proof of concept designs, we've
demonstrated that these bioinspired
vortex generators have the potential to
outperform traditional designs."
N E W S
Business on pay
Business representatives on the
pay equity working group have
welcomed the resumption of work
towards new pay equity legislation.
BusinessNZ and the Employers and
Manufacturers Association, along
with the New Zealand Council of
Trade Unions and the Government
are part of the working group
addressing the pay levels of women
working in women-dominated jobs.
Issues for resolution include criteria
for accepting pay equity claims and
selecting male comparators when
BusinessNZ chief executive Kirk
Hope says it would be important
for the new legislation to enable
legitimate pay equity claims to be
easily identified and settled.
The joint working group is soon
expected to make recommendations
for the new legislation.