Flexy Fur Foils Fouling

The flexibility of a beaver's fur helps shed dirt as it moves through air and water.

Inspired by a muddy hike with a dog, today’s study looks at how fur in a flow can shed dirt and debris. Researchers placed beaver, coyote, and synthetic hairs in a flow chamber with a slurry of titanium dioxide particles in water. After 24 hours, they counted the particles stuck on each hair. The more flexible a hair, the cleaner it stayed. Long hairs collected fewer particles per unit surface area than short ones, thanks to their larger deflection in the flow. The effect, they discovered, is a bit like when paint or glue dries on your hand. The more you move and flex your skin, the harder it is for crusty material to stick. This self-cleaning with flex and flow occurs in nature, too: the only furry mammal with consistently dirty fur is the notoriously inactive sloth. (Image credit: T. Umphreys; research credit: M. Krsmanovic et al.; via APS Physics)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.