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Shark Skin Turbulence Reduction
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Shark skin design aids efficient flying.


Traveling at high speeds through the air creates turbulence along the surface of a wing or body of an aircraft. This “skin friction drag” causes eruptions or bursts of air known as “eddies” on the surface resulting in greater drag as the speed is increased. This drag requires more energy to overcome.

Since the same phenomenon happens in the water, NASA scientists found a way to reduce this problem by studying shark skin. Sharks are able to glide smoothly through the water. Microscopic studies of shark skin shows “V” grooves called riblets. By adding the riblets to test models of aircraft in a laboratory, a 10% reduction in skin friction drag was accomplished. Applying this principle to the “skin” of an aircraft can reduce drag and help to save energy.

So the Master Designer gave sharks a special feature to reduce friction in the water. It is interesting how much we can learn by observing design in creation.



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