From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Peanut butter and jellyfish subs

John Dabiri  (Photo by MacArthur Foundation)
When life hands you peanuts, make peanut butter.  But when life hands you jellyfish, make submarines.

The latter concept has been pioneered by an engineering genius named John Dabiri, who has “unraveled some of the mysteries of the jellyfish and how they propel themselves by creating whirling vortexes in the water.”

Dabiri then thought to himself, “If they can do it, why can’t submarines?”  Bloomberg Business reports that the United States Navy is currently developing “underwater craft that employ [Dabiri’s] mathematical models.”  Such innovations would require 30 percent less energy than existing craft.

Dabiri has also applied bio-inspired engineering to other challenges.  When standard wind turbines are placed near one another, they tend to “funnel wind into each other.”  This causes decreased output and increased wear and tear.

Because Dabiri had observed that fish within schools have found ways to move together without slowing one another down, he “modeled their motion mathematically.”  Using these results, Dabiri then developed “software to define the optimal placement of wind turbines.” This has allowed for more turbines on “a given plot of land,” which in turn has yielded “10 times more energy.”


Copyright February 27, 2016 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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