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Thursday, August 16, 2012
It's the 'shake and dry' technique and dogs are experts! What's the connection with wet dogs and the Mars landing craft though?
Furry mammals can shake themselves 70 per cent dry in just a fraction of a second, research from the Georgia Institute of Technology has found.
For mammals in cold climates, the ability to dry themselves off quickly, can be a matter of life and death.
Similarly, for electronics, the ability to shake off dust, is crucial to functioning in extreme environments and filming animals shaking themselves dry, could inspire gizmos and robots that self-clean.
While a wet bear shakes at about four times a second and a typical dog shakes four to six times a second, mice whip their hair at a phenomenal frequency of about 30 shakes per second - more a vibration than a shake.
'They have to shake 30 times per second, which is unimaginable because their whole body is whipping back and forth,' says the team leader Professor Hu.
The research also found that some furry animals are helped by loose skin, which 'whips the fluid around much faster than if the skin was tight.
Looser skin can help to generate forces ranging from 10 to 70 times that of gravity - so high that the creatures must close their eyes to protect them from the extreme G forces.
The results were published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, where the authors speculate that their research may have implications for technology designed for wet and dusty conditions.
'In the future, self-cleaning and self-drying may arise as an important capability for cameras and other equipment subject to wet or dusty conditions,' they write.
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