Life’s a drag, unless you live in a bubble

In a breakthrough in our understanding of hydrodynamics, researchers (including Prof Derek Chan from the School of Mathematics & Statistics) have demonstrated the seemingly impossible: a ball that sinks in water with almost zero drag

Water will easily stop a bullet, but it can’t stop a ball sinking in a bubble.

This is the remarkable result from a series of experiments that have for the first time shown objects sinking in water with close to zero drag, finally proving an 18th century theory in physics.

Swimmers experience it, fish have evolved their sleek shapes to minimise it, ships are slowed by it, and submarines use copious amounts of energy to defeat it. Drag slows everything down in water, and removing it is the holy grail of fluid mechanics.

Improvements of just 5 or 10 per cent drag reduction can have a major impact on fuel efficiency and speed, but what if you reduce drag by 90 per cent?

Read more here!