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A Computer Generated Shark Bite August 1, 2007

Posted by Mrs Weird Scientist in Deep Sea, Easy As Pie, Marine Life, Ocean, Technology.
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A group of scientists in Australia have a plan. It involves sharks and computers. Weird combination? Actually, it makes perfect sense! They want to test out the biting power of the Great White shark. To accomplish this goal, they’re building a three-dimensional (3-D) computer model to help them figure it out. Stephen Wroe of the University of New South Wales is leading the team of researchers. Together, they are also working with researchers from the University of Newcastle as well as the University of Tampa, which is located in Florida. They are using data from a shark that was previously caught using beach nets. The shark is 7.8 feet long and the scientists are looking at the shark’s jaw and facial muscles.

Great White Shark

Credit: Encyclopaedia Britannica.

It’s Useful Information

Shark bites can cause a lot of damage and I’m not just talking about bites to humans. Dan Huber-a shark biologist working with the Australian team-is investigating whether sharks caused damage to submarine cables and communication systems on U.S. Navy submarines.

Researchers Have A Plan

Using 3-D computer simulations, the researchers are hoping to figure out the bite force, feeding behavior and cranial mechanics of the Great White shark. It seems like a logical and safe way to do it. Researchers had already tried to figure out the shark’s bite force by using underwater experiments. These experiments, however, were unsuccessful. It’s because sharks have bitten through stuff with more force than what researchers have seen in underwater experiments. What we observe in a limited time-period and a restricted space underwater isn’t always an accurate representation of what really happens throughout the ocean depths.

Bite Proof Materials

If researchers can attain their goal of figuring out the Great White shark’s bite force and related mechanics, this information can then be used to create stronger, shark bite resistant materials for submarines and similar projects. The Great White shark may have sharp teeth and a powerful jaw, but if the researchers can figure this one out, the shark’s teeth won’t be able to sink too far into the new bite resistant materials!

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Comments»

1. davidscubadiver - July 29, 2008

I saw this year they developed some material to resist the White shark’s bite. Looked kind of promising. I have no idea how much of a need there is for the material though.

I have a few pictures of sharks I took up on my Blog.

2. Miss Weird Scientist - July 30, 2008

David: Very cool pictures! I’m interested to learn more about the development of materials too.


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