Maurizio Quadrio of Politecnico di Milano and Paolo Luchini of Università degli Studi di Salerno have developed a surface micro-pattern that reduces aero- or hydrodynamic friction drag for a turbulent flow over a body, or in a duct.
The surface pattern reduces drag when a body covered by the pattern is immersed in a turbulent flow. The technology has a wide range of applications, including air, marine and ground transport, and flows in pipes and ducts.
The researchers note that this is a passive way of reducing energy consumption.
The research began from the observation of rough but low-friction surfaces in nature, for example on the skin of fast-swimming sharks. Further optimisation and the identification of optimal roughness, has been achieved through computer simulations.
Such rough surfaces are expected to be used in the design of next generation clean airplanes.