Spiral shark intestines work like Nikola Tesla’s water valve, examine finds

A CT scan image of the spiral intestine of a Pacific spiny dogfish shark (<em>Squalus suckleyi</em>). The beginning of the intestine is on the left, and the end is on the right.

Enlarge / A CT scan picture of the spiral gut of a Pacific spiny dogfish shark (Squalus suckleyi). The start of the gut is on the left, and the tip is on the suitable. (credit score: Samantha Leigh/California State College, Dominguez Hills)

In 1920, Serbian-born inventor Nikola Tesla designed and patented what he referred to as a “valvular conduit”: a pipe whose inside design ensures {that a} fluid will circulate in a single most popular course, without having for shifting components, making it perfect for microfluidics functions, amongst different makes use of. In accordance with a current paper revealed within the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the Tesla valve additionally offers a helpful mannequin for the way meals strikes by means of the digestive system of many species of shark. Primarily based on new CT scans of shark intestines, scientists have concluded that the intestines are naturally occurring Tesla valves.

“It is excessive time that some fashionable know-how was used to take a look at these actually superb spiral intestines of sharks,” stated co-author Samantha Leigh of California State College, Dominguez Hills. “We developed a brand new technique to digitally scan these tissues and now can take a look at the smooth tissues in such nice element with out having to slice into them.”

The important thing to Tesla’s ingenious valve design is a set of interconnected, uneven, tear-shaped loops. In his patent utility, Tesla described this collection of 11 flow-control segments as being product of “enlargements, recessions, projections, baffles, or buckets which, whereas providing just about no immune to the passage of fluid in a single course, aside from floor friction, represent an virtually impassable barrier to its circulate in the other way.” And since it achieves this with no shifting components, a Tesla valve is rather more immune to the wear and tear and tear of frequent operation.

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