ANFF

‘Sharkskin’ makes planes faster, smoother, cheaper

A sharkskin-inspired coating on planes will save thousands of dollars per flight and slash carbon emissions, says Aussie start-up, MicroTau.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) today announces a $5.6 million investment in MicroTau’s ‘sharkskin’ technology developed with the help of the Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF).

Sharks famously swim smoothly and quietly, helped by their unique skin with thousands of overlapping layers of tiny ‘scales’ or denticles to reduce their drag in the water.

Mimicking this structure on airplanes reduces turbulence, increases flying speed, and cuts fuel emissions and cost. Unfortunately, it is excruciatingly difficult to replicate the microscopic grooves and bumps with traditional manufacturing.

MicroTau have solved this puzzle using specialist laser manufacturing technology to rapidly produce the shark skin pattern in a light-curable material onto large, self-adhesive patches. Today’s funding announcement will allow them to scale-up manufacturing and grow their team of scientists, engineers, and business development specialists.

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US defence to work with Australian science, fighting ancient killer in Vietnam, how do kids brains cope with disaster?

Healthy human brain shown via medical imaging Credit: Matthew Purdy
The US spends $80 billion on defence research but still thinks they can learn from our nanotechnologists. They’re meeting with Australian nano-leaders this week in DC.

More on that below, and also:

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Can Australian researchers help maintain the technological superiority of the US Air Force?

And what are the benefits for Australian research?

Today in Washington DC, the Australian Ambassador Kim Beazley will open a four day workshop with more than 60 US defence researchers and 33 Australian nanotechnology scientists.

The meeting, organised by the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF), will explore opportunities for collaboration in nanotechnology and nano-manufacturing.

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