Phenomena

An Octopus’ Handshake

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Cephalopods, especially octopuses, are fascinating creatures. At sea level, an octopus can generate an impressive pressure differential of 1 to 2 atmospheres with each of its suckers. That incredible grip is possible thanks to fluid dynamics. An octopus’s sucker consists of two main parts: the ring-shaped infundibulum on the outer surface and the inner, cup-shaped acetabulum. When the infundibulum makes contact with a surface, it creates a water-tight seal. The octopus then contracts radial muscles along the acetabulum. This expands the inner chamber. The water trapped in the acetabulum now has to take up a greater volume, causing the pressure to drop and creating suction. To let go, the octopus simply relaxes the radial muscles or contracts circular ones to reduce the chamber volume and release the suction. (Video credit: Deep Look)

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