In top level sports fractions of a second decide between victory and defeat. The human body is limited in its performance and the athletes often get to their limits. With the help of bionic surfaces it is possible to improve the performance of the athletes with the same power input. Microstructured surfaces reduce the drag of different surfaces in the air and in water and are able to improve the overall performance of the athlete.
Riblets are used in different sports in water and on land. One use of riblets in water, is the application in surfing sports. The riblets are placed on the surfboard and make a better and faster gliding in the water possible. Riblets are used similarly in sailing, the so-called shark skin increases the performance through the drag reducing effect.
In cycling riblets are used on aerowheels and thanks to our experience in the aerodynamic design of aero wheels for different customers, we are also able to calculate the potential of the use of riblets on aero wheels. Depending on the wheel rim design, a reduction in the power demand of up to 1 watt per wheel can be achieved without having to make fundamental changes in the production process or design. The use of riblets leads to a reduction in the power demand and the wheel gets improved aerodynamic values.
Another potential field of use is in bob sledding, where several tests are taking place at the moment. As high speeds and an ideal aerodynamic design are playing important roles in bob sledding, it is possible that through the application of riblets on the bob sleight a reduction in the power demand is possible.
In most of the sports where speed and aerodynamic design count, riblets could be used to reduce the power demand and furthermore increase the speed and performance. As a result the athletes have a lead over their competitors and are therefore more successful.