Thursday, April 9, 2009

Flipper Research

UPI reported on the fascinating research of Professor Timothy Wei of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute who discovered why dolphins swim so fast.

A dolphin's tail creates 6 times more force than an Olympic swimmer. "Dolphins produce between 300-400 pounds of force compared with human swimmers' peak of about 60-70 pounds of force," said Wei.

Scientists have been perplexed by dolphins swimming at a clip more than 20 mph while their muscles weren't strong enough to support that kind of speed. The conundrum came to be known as Gray's Paradox after British zoologist James Gray who first noted the mystery.

"Sir Gray was certainly on to something, and it took nearly 75 years for technology to bring us to the point where we could get at the heart of his paradox. The short answer is that dolphins are simply much stronger than Gray or many other people ever imagined," said Wei.

Wei created water-flow diagnostic technology by modifying and combining force measurement tools with a video-based flow measurement technique.

We believe the velocity analysis as developed by Genadijus Sokolovas is more practical and useful for swimmers, water polo players and triathletes. While Professor Wei measures force in a static position, Genadijus measures instantaneous velocities and forces of swimmers while they are moving at race pace.

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