The advancement in technology has only been a recent phenomenon for mankind. However, nature has been innovating for perfection for millions of years. Man has arrived where physics and materials restrain us to push forward. Inspiring from nature’s strategies to push physics boundaries enables men to further innovate. It is a sustainable solution as it is always well adapted to life on earth. Here is one of the millions of nature’s examples: Sharkskin.
These little teeth on the sharkskin are known as denticules. They prevent water swirls and therefore create no resistance for the shark to swim making it much faster. They are what makes the shark completely silent. No parasites can attach to the skin. The engineer used this microstructure to cloak competition sailboats to never have to worry about parasites and algae and increase the speed. Furthermore, recreating these nanostructures to cloak boats is not a pollutant and far more sustainable than using strong and deadly chemicals every 5 years to kill parasites on the boat’s hull.
Moreover, Sharkskin doesn’t only apply to ships but also to aeronautics. In 2013, Lufthansa undertook two years of test involving covering an airbus-340 and 300 with denticules. They calculated that if a plane was covered by 40 to 70% of shark skin technology, it could decrease the fuel consumption by 1%. The equivalent of 90’000 tones of kerosene by plane each year. Therefore, just by cloaking part of a plane with sharkskin could save a phenomenal number of tones each year knowing there are about 6000 planes the air right now.
Picture Credits: Pascal Deynat/Odontobase