Phenomena

Crocodilian-Inspired Aerodynamics

The ridges on the back of crocdilians inspired one young scientist to design improvements to high-rise buildings.

Inspired by crocodilians, young scientist Angela Rofail designed attachments to reduce wind loads on high-rise buildings. When crocodilians swim, the ridges on their back help hide their motion from observation above the surface. Rofail wondered whether similar ridges would reduce the wind-induced swaying of high-rise buildings. Using a scale-model and crocodile-inspired knobs, the Year 10 student (read “high-school freshman” for U.S. readers) conducted wind tunnel tests that showed her modifications reduced drag on the model and kept it from moving in windy conditions. (Image credit: H. Roettger; video credit: CSIRO; via CSIRO; submitted by Kam-Yung Soh)

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