Technology Review has a article about Harvard Universities Research on the Hydrodynamic edge on the humpback whale
Marine scientists have long suspected that humpback whales' incredible agility comes from the bumps on the leading edges of their flippers. Now Harvard University researchers have come up with a mathematical model that helps explain this hydrodynamic edge. The work gives theoretical weight to a growing body of empirical evidence that similar bumps could lead to more-stable airplane designs, submarines with greater agility, and turbine blades that can capture more energy from the wind and water.
Already, attempts are being made to incorporate the tubercle design into commercial products. Fish is president of a venture based in Toronto, Ontario, called WhalePower, which has begun demonstrating the advantages of tubercles when they're integrated into the leading edges of wind-turbine and fan blades.
Prototypes of wind-turbine blades (see image below) have shown that the delayed stall doubles the performance of the turbines at wind speeds of about 17 miles per hour and allows the turbine to capture more energy out of lower-speed winds. For example, the turbines generate the same amount of power at 10 miles per hour that conventional turbines generate at 17 miles per hour. The tubercles effectively channel the air flow across the blades and create swirling vortices that enhance lift.
There is a company who is using this technology called Whale Power. Let's hope these guys are successful and can apply their ideas to the data center's cooling systems.
A FUNDAMENTAL ADVANCE
Inspired by the flippers of Humpback Whales, WhalePower has developed something truly remarkable – Tubercle Technology – which takes its name from the bumps on the leading edge of the whale’s flippers.
THE RIGHT TECHNOLOGY … AND RIGHT ON TIME
Tubercle Technology is more than just another blade design: It is a fundamental advance in fluid dynamics which will transform a host of machines built on that challenging science. Just when the world needs it most, Tubercle Technology offers new options. Turbines, compressors, pumps and fans will never be the same again.
Standby! The Whale is about to break through conventional limitations.