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May 22, 2014 AT 2:00 am

Scientists Produce Artificial Skin to Learn How Real Shark Skin Functions #3DxScience #3DThursday #3DPrinting

Artificial Shark Skin

Harvard University Researchers Produce Artificial Skin to Learn How Real Shark Skin Functions. From the Journal of Experimental Biology:

Although the functional properties of shark skin have been of considerable interest to both biologists and engineers because of the complex hydrodynamic effects of surface roughness, no study to date has successfully fabricated a flexible biomimetic shark skin that allows detailed study of hydrodynamic function….

A three-dimensional (3D) model of shark skin denticles was constructed using micro-CT imaging of the skin of the shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus). Using 3D printing, thousands of rigid synthetic shark denticles were placed on flexible membranes in a controlled, linear-arrayed pattern. This flexible 3D printed shark skin model was then tested in water using a robotic flapping device that allowed us to either hold the models in a stationary position or move them dynamically at their self-propelled swimming speed.

…The ability to fabricate synthetic biomimetic shark skin opens up a wide array of possible manipulations of surface roughness parameters, and the ability to examine the hydrodynamic consequences of diverse skin denticle shapes present in different shark species. (read more)

And check out the first 3D printed race car below — the last shot reveals the artificial shark skin structural pattern textured across the nose of the car!

From Materialise.com:

Printed directly onto the nose of the race car is a shark skin texture, similar to that found on high-tech competition swimsuits. As with the swimsuits, the aim of the teeth-like ridges is to improve performance on race day. Whether or not the texture helped the Areion cut through the air is still to be determined, but one thing is for sure – the shark skin made the nose of the car look great! (Read More.)


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