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Swimsuits and drag reductionFeatured science projectScience project video

Abstract

This experiment was conducted to find out how much do different brands of swimsuits assist a swimmer in reducing drag in water. This experiment was done by comparing materials from Speedo Fastskin, Aquapel Hydrasuit and a normal polyester swimsuit.

Hypothesis

The Speedo Fastskin swim suit should have the least amount of drag and produce the fastest swim speed.

Scientific Terms

Water resistance, drag, friction, compress

Background

Swimsuit drag

In modern swimming competitions, records are typically broken by fractions of a second and increasingly the way to win in the swimming competitions is either to be a faster swimmer or to use a better swimsuit.

The  swimsuits used in competitive sports are designed to reduce  water resistance or drag on the swimmers as they push forward in the water. The drag faced by the swimmer in the water is caused by the body shape of the swimmer and the friction of the water against the skin of the swimmer.

The fast swimsuits which cover most of the athlete’s body are made from two types of materials. A light and soft material is used to reduce the friction between water and skin whereas a stronger material is used to compress and streamline the body shape of the swimmer in order to reduce the water drag.

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Complexity level:
8
Project cost ($):
120
Time required:
1 hours to prepare, 2 hours for observation
Material availability:
Swimsuits may be purchased from a swimming gear retail outlet or department store. Alternatively, you might be able to borrow these from friends.
Safety concerns:

Always be careful and aware of the risks of getting/falling into a pool. Adult supervision required. Only swimmers should enter pools.