, Volume 7, Issue 6, pp 603–612 | Cite as

Drag-reduction of 3D printed shark-skin-like surfaces

  • Wei Dai
  • Masfer Alkahtani
  • Philip R. Hemmer
  • Hong LiangEmail author
Open Access
Research Article


The marvels of the slippery and clean sharkskin have inspired the development of many clinical and engineering products, although the mechanisms of interfacial interaction between the sharkskin and water have yet to be fully understood. In the present research, a methodology was developed to evaluate morphological parameters and to enable studying the effects of scale orientation on the fluidic behavior of water. The scale orientation of a shark skin was defined as the angle between the ridges and fluid flow direction. Textured surfaces with a series orientation of scales were designed and fabricated using 3D printing of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). The fluid drag performance was evaluated using a rheometer. Results showed that the shark–skin-like surface with 90 degree orientation of scales exhibited the lowest viscosity drag. Its maximum viscosity reduction was 9%. A viscosity map was constructed based on the principals of fluid dynamic. It revealed that the drag reduction effect of a shark-skin-like surface was attributed to the low velocity gradient. This was further proven using diamond nitrogen-vacancy sensing where florescent diamond particles were distributed evenly when the velocity gradient was at the lowest. This understanding could be used as guidance for future surface design.


shark skin 3D printing textured surface drag reduction nitrogen vacancy 



Part of this research was sponsored by the Turbomachinery Laboratory, Texas A&M Engineering.


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Copyright information

© The author(s) 2018

Open Access: The articles published in this journal are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wei Dai
    • 1
  • Masfer Alkahtani
    • 2
    • 3
  • Philip R. Hemmer
    • 2
    • 4
  • Hong Liang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  2. 2.Institute for Quantum Science and Engineering (IQSE)Texas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  3. 3.Center for Quantum Optics and Quantum InformaticsKACSTRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  4. 4.Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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