Konrad Koeltzsch, a postdoctoral researcher in chemical engineering and the Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at Ohio State, and his colleagues investigated grooves in sharkskin called riblets.
Koeltzsch began to study sharkskin while he was a postdoctoral researcher at the Dresden University of Technology in Germany. He worked with Albrecht Dinkelacker, a German researcher who pioneered the study of riblets, and Dresden professor Roger Grundmann. The three published their results in a recent issue of the journal Experiments in Fluids.
Some 20 years ago, engineers found that lining a pipe with riblet-like grooves could speed flow through a pipe by as much as 10 percent.
The very idea that a textured surface could speed fluid flow
appears counterintuitive at first, Koeltzsch said. "We normally think
that smooth surfaces cause the least drag," he explained. A
fundamental point in fluid mechanics is that rough surfaces increase
drag, and sharkskin is considered rough. If such a rough surface
Contact: Konrad Koeltzsch
Ohio State University