MIT researchers created the lighter and warmer fabric to maximize speed in the water and to keep swimmers dry

Taking inspiration from semi-aquatic mammals such as beavers and sea otters, a group of MIT researchers have designed a new wetsuit concept to maximize dive speeds while keeping swimmers as dry as possible. Though creatures such as whales and walruses rely on their blubber for insulation in the cold depths of the ocean, the fuzzy creatures we’ve come to know and love offer a different mechanism for staying dry when submerged: rubbery pelts that trap air between their individual hairs.

Surfers looking to increase the speed at which they shed water will benefit most from this redesign, which also helps to retain the thermal management properties so they can stay warm when submerged. Using video imaging, the team fabricated extremely precise fur-like surfaces of various dimensions, and plunged the surfaces in liquid at varying speeds to capture and interpret the amount of air the faux-fur is capable of trapping per each dive.

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