The world’s fastest fish, the shark, especially the mako shark is being studied by the US Army in order to help build a highly powerful, efficient, and responsive aircraft. The mako shark is very well-known for its swimming record of 60 mph and as per studies, it can also reach up to a speed of 80 mph. This speedy nature is all obtained through decades of evolutionary adaptations that give it the opportunity to cut through the water with no drag issues.
According to University of Alabama aeronautical engineers, the shark has layer by layer stacked raised tooth-like scales present on the fins and sides which are currently being scrutinized for its role. The mako’s swimming technique is enhanced by the flexing and bristling up that can be performed with the help of scales which are kind to similar to their teeth. The shark’s perfect and smooth body texture in the direction of water and rough when in the opposite direction is what the researchers are currently looking answers for. The role of the currents and the body scales response against it is all being understood through the flow separation phenomenon. Currently, the pressure drag is a property that plays an important role in aircraft and its certain techniques that become highly fuel efficient, responsive and also to take flight faster.
After studying it was found that scales on the shark’s body did control the flow separation and also helped reduce the drag. The size of the scales is also important as the bigger the scales the more flow separation takes place which can be put to use in various technologies. The current research is being funded by space organizations like Boeing and the US Army so as to help develop groundbreaking novel drag-resistant coatings in the upcoming months. The idea of using a biologically derived product for the aerial mechanism purpose is something new. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) lab had developed a biofuel for the aviation industry using jatropha seeds and aviation turbine fuel (ATF). The use of bio jet fuel and ATF is believed to help reduce the fuel cost in the near future 15-20%.