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Written by: Jane Li
Written on: March 21st, 2017
Tags: biomedical engineering, health & medicine, lifestyle, material science, mechanical engineering, water, physics
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About the Author
Jane is an animal-loving sophomore studying Arts, Technology, and the Business of Innovation in the Iovine and Young Academy at USC.
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Volume XVIII Issue I > From Shark Skin to Speed

Shark Skin Technologies

While many natural processes associated with sharks are fascinating, experts are especially interested in shark skin and its ability to increase speed [8][10]. The science behind shark skin speed is fairly simple: When an object is moving underwater, water flowing at the surface of the object moves more slowly than water moving away from that said object [9][Fig. 3]. On smooth surfaces, this contrast of water speed surrounding the object causes the fast-moving water to break up into many turbulent vortices, which slows down the overall speed of an object moving underwater [9]. Shark skin reduces this speed discrepancy, which in turn reduces turbulence, and allows greater speed [10].,​,
Figure 3: Shark Skin Dermal Denticles & Water Movement (Modified from [17][18]).