Thursday, November 11, 2010

Physics Behind How Cats Drink Water Without Getting Wet

It may not get the prominent space in top notch science journal yet, but the possible applications derived from knowledge obtained how cats drink water without getting wet can be like reading a story from a science fiction. First of all, how does the cat do it? Here is an extract from an The Washington Post article:
"...the cat uses fluid dynamics and physics in a way to absolutely optimize tongue lapping and water collection. Nobody had ever studied it before, so nobody knew how the water went from the bowl into the cat's mouth. As with most basic scientific research, the usefulness of this knowledge is uncertain. But it is not, the researchers say, hard to imagine some downstream applications, perhaps in robotics....the water on the tongue, combined with the low pressure created by the slight-curled tongue moving back up, creates a momentary stream into the mouth. The cat then snaps its mouth shut and the water is captured before the countervailing force of gravity pulls it down. An average house cat, the team found, can make four of these ministreams per second....take advantage of the physics at play - that is, the balance between upward movement of the water set off by the cat's tongue (the inertia) and the gravity pulling the water down."
One possible application is: "creating robots that can walk on water, and this research could help."

The nature is abundant with all the mysteries, and unraveling it, century by century, has led human beings to create the modern marvels. Creating robots that can walk on water, hopefully, will bring positive impacts, like in rescue missions from flood or tsunami ravaged areas these water walking robots can become the modern saviors, not bringing the darker side, like another form of super destructive force. Good sense surely will prevail over the predatorial urge. That's the most one can wish for while looking at cats the maestro balancing play between inertia and gravity.

Article link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/11/AR2010111104952.html

Watch a video: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/video/2010/nov/11/cats-lapping-video


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