Whales Inspire GasPod Design

biomimicry, earth day, whale

Holy Moly GasPods Work

I have dedicated my life to making products that help people move freely and efficiently underwater. I have discovered a lot about fluid dynamics over the years.

I had been working on some new product shapes, inspired by whale tubercles, for some of my Force Fin design. “Whale tubercles” are the knobs or nodules predominant on the body of humpback whales. Similar adaptations exist on many marine animals, such as lobsters.

Somewhere around 25 or 30 years ago, I told my marine biologist friends that these bumps were similar to vortex generators,  and helped accelerate water flowing past the large surface area of the whale’s body. At the time, they disagreed and insisted they were related to feeding behavior. Others now participating in the trend of design by bio-mimicry, of which I was a modern day pioneer, have proven me right.

Force Fin, ForceFin, Extra Force Fin
Amethyst Tan Delta Extra Force Fin, with Vortex Generators on Underside and Trailing Edge Contours inspired by whale tubercles. Part of the collections of the Costume Institute of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, circa 1997

How objects respond to air flow is very similar to fluid flow. I decided to super glue some of these lift generating shapes, aerodynamic prototypes for GasPods onto the roof of our old Volvo station wagon to see what might happen.

I was doing a lot of driving back and forth between Santa Barbara and Los Angeles to help my father. As that was where my mind was during these drives, I forgot all about the GasPod prototypes super glued to the car roof.

*Over a 2 year period, I was driving an average 500 miles per week. I always returned to Santa Barbara with between a 1/4 and 1/2 tank of gas in reserve. After putting the GasPod prototypes on the car, I got home with more than 1/2 tank. That had never happened before.

I said, “Holy Moly,” not exactly, but some words with a very similar exclamatory meaning, “GasPods work at saving fuel!”

And, that is how The GasPod Project came to be.

Aerohance GasPods Team Member Peggy Oki Saves Whales

Peggy Oki is Atmospheric.

You can BeAtmospheric Also

1 Comment

Jeff Jones

I remember in the late 60s early seventies, the airliners at that time stared installing small vortex generators on top of their wings, I was young and curious, my father was a pilot and had worked at North American Aircraft. The answer was two fold, it reduced lateral flow on the surface and caused a mixing effect between the laminar flow on the wing surface and the boundary layer, reducing drag. As a surfer in the 60s-80 era watched all kind of hydro dynamic experiments and variations, boards were small and inexpensive so the shappers went wild. The most well thought out theories of the time were pushed forward and George Greenough was writing the advancements he was working on and analyzing the work of others. This was also an era that began the advance study in hydrodynamics of vessels large and small, power, and sail.

You have always been an artist and an inventor, so it is no surprise to me that your curious mind and natural intuition would lead to an economical and environmental solution only so obvious once you bring it forward. Very creative Bob. BYOB

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