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Drag reduction with shark skin technology: Shark skin coating boosts performance


Riblets surface minimize drag

Riblets have, similarly to shark skin, tiny grooves arranged longitudinally along the flow and these structures reduce the drag up to 8%. The shark utilizes the special structured skin for energy efficient and fast swimming in the water.

In technology there are several fields of application for the so-called “shark skin effect”. The innovative technical surface structures are used in water, air and in every other fluid to benefit from a lot of advantages.

Bionic technology for more performance

The idea to apply biological methods and systems found in nature to modern technologies has a long tradition and brought major technological progress. It is called bionic and part of our company name bionic surface technologies for this reason.

From shark skin to bionic riblets

In detail, the tips show a distance of 120μm and a height of ~ 50μm. The same aspect ratio is also used in “artificial shark skin technology” called Riblets. The peak distance and the aspect ratio change with the wall reynolds number.The technical shark skin (Riblets) is designed so that the tip spacing and the height of the structure are always adapted for the respective use. Specially developed numerical calculation methods are used to achieve the greatest possible benefit for each application.


Enhancing the natural shark skin effect

In this four pictures we can see the similarity and difference of the natural shark skin and the artificial shark skin (Riblets). The two pictures above showcase the natural shark skin while the ones bellow show the artificial shark skin. The stark contrast we see between these two structures is because the Riblets are optimized in such manner that we get the best possible efficiency increase in a given domain.


Riblet surfaces have less friction

The two animations we can see in the video on the left compare a smooth surface with a Riblet surface. The plane we see in the animations displays the wall shear while the wall behind represents the velocity. Significantly larger zones with very high wall friction (wall shear [Pa]) appear on the smooth wall.

What we offer:

  • CFD simulation of the exact geometry parameters of Riblets
  • results that improve three dimensional body flow applications
  • self-developed algorithm to design the exact Riblet’s geometry
  • The “BST-algorithm” is verified by numerous experiments and real applications
  • This process reduces costs of expensive “Trial and Error” tests