BOB HIRSHON (host):
Aerodynamic paint. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.
A shark’s scales reduce drag and help the shark swim fast. Now scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany have developed a way to paint similar scales onto airplanes and cargo ships. Engineer Volkmar Stenzel says that airplanes already use sharkskin-like foils, but they add weight and can’t be used on the whole plane.
VOLKMAR STENZEL (Fraunhofer Institute, Germany):
And from these reasons, we got the question from the aircraft industry of whether we could think of a paint solution.
They loaded their paint with tiny particles that resist extreme temperatures and UV radiation, and apply it through a stencil to create the scale pattern. The researchers say that if every airplane in the world got the coating, it could save nearly four and a half million tons of fuel per year. Stenzel says the coating could also help wind turbines generate energy more efficiently. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.