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Fish slime could help make vehicles more fuel efficient

The project is expected to take two years and once complete.

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Studio shot of stylish young bearded fisherman in yellow raincoat and red hat looking in shock with jaw dropped, holding big sea-water fresh-caught fish in both hands, surprised with fine catch
(Cast of Thousands via Shutterstock)

By Danny Halpin via SWNS

Fish slime could hold the key to making vehicles more fuel efficient and cheaper to run - and could help reduce their carbon emissions.

Mathematicians are developing a computer model to examine how some predator-avoiding fish use slime to reduce the drag created by the friction on their bodies when they swim.

One barrier in the way of reducing fuel consumption for cars, planes, ships and other vehicles is skin-friction drag, which is drag caused by the friction of a fluid or gas against the surface of an object that is moving through it.

A reduction in drag could help lower the CO2 emissions of such vehicles by making them more efficient, as well as making electric cars cheaper to run making them more attractive to buyers.

The current project, Utilizing a Naturally Occurring Drag Reduction Method, is led by Dr. Paul Griffiths of Aston University and aims to create a mathematical model that could reveal new techniques in reducing biological drag.

“At present, one of the largest sources of CO2 emissions stems directly from the burning of fossil fuels for transportation purposes. Maritime transport alone emits annually around 940 million tonnes of CO2," Griffiths said.

“Turbulent flows play a significant role in reducing fuel efficiency and, in the case of fossil-fuel burning engines, have an associated impact in increasing harmful CO2 emissions.

“The goal of this project is to develop mathematical techniques that can be used to model the control of such flows with a specific focus on the ability to delay the onset of turbulent transition.”

The project is expected to take two years and once complete, the team hopes to work with industry partners to put their theoretical findings into practice.

“It is an exciting time for me and my group to join Aston University, we are very much looking forward to contributing to the innovative fluid mechanics research that takes place here," Griffiths said.

“This research is part of Aston University’s growing digital agenda, recognizing the importance of computational modeling and simulation to the rapid advancements in all areas of technology. Computational approaches are transforming how the world operates.”

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