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Fur decreases water turbulence: seals


Seal swimming / laika lis / LicenseCC-by-nc-sa - Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike

The fur of seals may help them swim efficiently by maintaining laminar flow.

"the short wiry hair or feather coats of such good swimmers as seals and penguins seem to be a great advantage for the maintenance of laminar flows. This is borne out by technical experiments with fine wire on surfaces in a flow field (M. D. Kramer, 1938), as well as by indirect clues. The splendid fur of the seal, for instance, provides no protection against getting wet; it gets soaked through in the water. And, when exposed to the air, wet fur presents a considerable risk of a chill. We must assume that wet fur represents an advantage for swimming. And, like the seal's coat of hair, the feathers of birds may have a favorable effect on the boundary layer." (Tributsch 1984:49)
About the inspiring organism

Learn more at
Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist

Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: Increasing efficiency of water transportation by decreasing friction.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Transportation

Tributsch, H. 1984. How life learned to live. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. 218 p.
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