Research

Bristling Scales Give Sharks Speed

The shortfin mako shark is one of the ocean’s fastest and most agile hunters, thanks in part to flexible scales along its body. As water flows around the shark’s body, the scales bristle to angles in excess of 60 degrees. This causes turbulence in the boundary layer along the shark’s body and prevents boundary layer separation which would otherwise increase the shark’s drag. In this respect, the scales serve much the same purpose as dimples on a golf ball. (Abstract, National Geographic article) #

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