Scientists see fish fins as a way to improve modern aircraft

Science, technology and technology news

Scientists see fish fins as a way to improve modern aircraft

The structure of the fins of fish provides their incredible mechanical properties. Knowing how it all works can help humans create improved underwater propulsion systems, new robotic materials, and even new aircraft designs.

Fish fins are one of the most elegant ways to interact with water. They are flexible enough to take on a wide variety of shapes, yet remain tough so they won't break from water.

Their secret lies in their structure. Most fish have rays – long and thin bone structures. Fish can change the shape of their fins using the muscles and tendons that control each ray.

Researchers studied the mechanical properties of these segmented beams using theoretical models and 3D printed fins. It turned out that numerous small bony segments make it possible to deform the rays. Therefore, the muscles and tendons at the base of the rays transform the fin with minimal effort. Also, the structure prevents the destruction of the fins.

Such designs can bring many benefits to the aerospace industry. Variable wings could revolutionize aircraft construction.

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