Sharkskin for airplanes, ships and wind energy plants
Fraunhofer has developed an innovative paint system to reduce drag
Story content courtesy of Fraunhofer
The inspiration – and model – for the paint‘s structure comes from nature: The scales of fast-swimming sharks have evolved in a manner that significantly diminishes drag, or their resistance to the flow of currents. The challenge was to apply this knowledge to a paint that could withstand the extreme demands of aviation.
Yvonne Wilke, Dr. Volkmar Stenzel and Manfred Peschka of the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Applied Materials Research IFAM in Bremen developed not only a paint that reduces aerodynamic drag, but also the associated manufacturing technology.
When applied to every airplane every year throughout the world, the paint could save a volume of 4.48 million tons of fuel. This also applies to ships: the team was able to reduce wall friction by more than five percent in a test with a ship construction testing facility. The new paint would also improve the degree of efficiency of wind turbine systems.