Doctor Fish Invents Fan Blade With Twenty Percent Greater Efficiency By Mimicking A Whale Flipper
Christian Science Monitor has published a totally charming story about how Dr. Frank E. Fish was inspired to "bio-mimic" a fan blade design, upon viewing a Humpback Whale sculpture in a Boston MA gift shop. There are prospective efficiency gains from re-designed wind turbine blades, also, based on this "discovery".
Fish, a biology professor at West Chester University of Pennsylvania, is now using this technology perfected by nature to produce fans with serrated blades that use 20 percent less electricity than traditional models. This finding contradicts conventional designs that strive for the smoothest possible edges.Apparently the tubercles on the leading edge of a Humpbacks flips are unique: offering a significant increase in "lift." The result of Dr. Fish's discovery was formation of WhalePower, a Toronto-based company that markets the whale fin-based technology. The technology has already been licensed to a Canadian firm for making more efficient ceiling fans, and would also work for a wide variety of liquid pumping, propelling and electro-mechanical conversion applications: anything with a spinning blade in a fluid medium, really.
We hope lots of hyper-efficient products based on this design will be sold in Norway and Japan: the two nations that "harvest" the most whales. Just to get them thinking, you see.
Colin introduced us to this story back in March with his post:: Whale Power: More Efficienct Fan Blades Mimic Humpback Fins. Since then, CSM reports, interest has been coming to WhalePower from industries all over the world.
For the scientists in the audience, see:: Integrative and Comparative Biology Advance Access; Hydrodynamic flow control in marine mammals; Frank E. Fish1,*, Laurens E. Howle and Mark M. Murray