Thursday, 5 July 2012

Fastest Swimmers Make Webbed Hands Out of Water

When watching the Summer Olympics, take a good look at the hands of the competitive swimmers. Chances are, their fingers will be slightly spread. Now new research finds that this hand position creates an "invisible web" of water that gives swimmers more speed.

"It is a counterintuitive idea, the fact that you should paddle with a fork, not with an oar," said study researcher Adrian Bejan, a professor of mechanical engineering at Duke University.

In fact, Bejan and his colleagues found that interactions between the hand and the water when the fingers are slightly spread increase the total force a swimmer can exert, translating to faster times in the pool.

1 comment:

  1. The research article on which this story is based is available at

    See: "The Constructal-Law physics of why swimmers must spread their fingers and toes"


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