Sharks’ tooth-like scales help to boost their acceleration rates

shark scales

Tooth-like shark scales under extreme magnification

Galipon

Tooth-like scales on shark skin reduce drag as they manoeuvre through the ocean, and they are at their most effective when the sharks accelerate.

Josephine Galipon at Keio University Institute for Advanced Biosciences in Japan and her colleagues created synthetic shark skin from 3-D printed moulds based on scanning electron microscope images of Pacific spiny dogfish (Squalus suckleyi) shark skin samples. They then covered an aeroplane wing-shaped model with the skin and studied the fluid dynamics – specifically, the vortices, or water swirls, left in the model’s wake – as they …