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Riblets have gone through a huge evolution over the past 80 years. Starting with the idea of how Riblets might work, the first applications quickly developed. 
Here you can see the most important milestones in the Research of Riblets from 1937 to 2021.  

Please note: 
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  • Sir James Gray claimed, that dolphin's skin must have special anti-drag-properties. Later it became known as the Gray's Paradox and was refuted in 2008.
  • Based on Gray's Paradox, Max Kramer created the hypothesis, that the dolphin's skin has to interact with the water by flowing over the body's surface in such way, that the flow was stabilized and the transition to turbulence delayed.
  • The first fundemental studies on Riblets were back in 1970, led by the NASA Langley Research Center. In the same year, they created the very first Riblets on flat aluminium.
  • First Experiments Riblets on a Boeing started (McLean).
  • Just 6 years later, 3M and the Flight Institute of Seattle made first water tests for Riblet film.
  • 3M offers to produce Riblets on foil.
  • The racing yacht 'Stars and Stripes' equipped with Riblets from NASA and 3M won the America's Cup and the Gold Medal at Olympia.
  • Airbus Experiment with metallic Riblet foil.
  • Choi et. all. investigated the effect of Riblets on flat plates in wind tunnels and boat hulls in towing tunnels.
  • 20 years ago, was the first usage of the famous Navier Stokes Equation for replication of high- and low speed streaks.

    Also, in the same year, Szodruch estimated about 2% drag reduction on the Airbus 320, if the aircraft is covered with Riblets.

  • Bechert and its team won the first Bionicprize from GTBB and the Verband für Bionik
  • 10 years after the offer from 3M, Kourky & Virk made their first experiments with 3M foil on pipes for pipe flow studies.

    Goldstein founded a numerical modelling of turbulent flow over Riblet system in the same year.

  • Bechert did laboratory and flight experiments on drag reduction.
  • A second prize, the Philip Morize price for the concept of shark surfaces, won Bechert and his team just one year later.
  • Two years after the prize, Bechert examined a texture similar to shark skin arranged in an interlocking array.
  • Another scientist called Han did experiments with Riblets on aeroplane wings and aeroplane fuselages in 2002.

    In the same year, the US Office of Naval Research and scientist Brennan developed sharkskin inspired surfaces for antifouling on submarine and ships.

  • IFAM, the Fraunhofer Institute for manufacturing engineering and material science, developed painted Riblets and filed a patend for application technology.
  • 5 years later IFAM tested its painted Riblets on aircraft in commercial operation in terms of stability.

    In the same year, Lee & Choi investigated flow visualization and flexible thin Riblet film (PDMS).

  • bionic surface technologies did their first aerodynamic flight test with the full covered single seater Aircraft Zivko Edge 450 V2.
  • The BMW Oracle Team won the 33. America's Cup with their Racing Yacht covered with Riblet foil.

    In the same year, bionic surface technologies did their first full scale wind tunnel test on a GT-Race Car.

    Also, it was the first year, where bionic surface technologies used successfull Riblets in DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagenmeisterschaft). Unfortunately, Riblets were banned 3 years later in 2013 from the DTM.

  • Sareen imployed different sizes of sawtooth Riblets applied to DU-96-W-180 airfoil for wind turbines.

    In the same year, bionic surface technologies did their first tests with Riblets on a Formula 1 car.

    IFAM & HSVA tested painted Riblets for ship-application in the same year. They indicated a drag reduction of 3.5% - 5%.

  • The Swiss Air Race Team won the 1st Place at Reno Air Race. bionic surface technologies calculated and applied the Riblets on the Swiss Air Race Teams Aircraft 'Scarlett Screamer'.

    IFAM and Lufthansa Technik did their first in-service tests of painted Riblets on civil aircraft in the same year.

  • Peugeot presented their concept car 'Peugeot Exalt' at the Peking Motorshow. The rear wing was concepted with a Riblet surface.

    In the same year, bionic surface technologies used Riblets in Bobsleight at the Olympic Winter Games in Sotchi.

  • One year later, bionic surface technologies and Lufthansa did Simulations with Riblets on a Boeing 747-400. BST calculated fuel savings of 3%.

    2015 was also the first year, when an aircraft was equipped with Riblets from bionic surface technologies at Red Bull Air Race.

    Eschmann Textures developed a scratch-resistant sharkskin like surface out of resin for cars.

  • IFAM and bionic surface technologies did in-service tests of painted Riblets on wind turbines, indicating significant performance increase.

    bionic surface technologies, General Electric, MAN, Lufthansa and others started the EU-funded project ReSiSTant (Large Riblet Surface with Super Hardness, Mechanical and Temperature Resistance by Nano Functionalization).

  • bionic surface technologies applied Riblets on Vattenfall Solar Teams Solarcar NunaX. Unfortunately, NunaX burned down at the Bridgestone World Solarchallenge in Australia.

    2019 was also the year of the last Red Bull Air Race. 49% of all podium positions and 51% of all victories were with Riblets.

  • Lufthansa uses AeroShark Riblets developed by BASF on Boeing 777F.

    In the same year, NIKON Corporation and bionic surface technologies sign a Joint Development Agreement for Riblet Research.

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