Washington, February 29 : A revolutionary new swimsuit designed with the help of a specialised computer modelling technique developed at The University of Nottingham is being hailed as the world's fastest swimsuit.
Swimsuit manufacturer Speedo has designed its new LZR Racer suit with the assistance of Dr. Herve Morvan, a lecturer in fluid mechanics in the School of Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering.
Athletes wearing the new swimsuit broke three world records within a week of its launch.
For making the new suit, Speedo harnessed the expertise of NASA, a number of international research institutes, and industrial partners such as ANSYS, which is one of the world's leading engineering simulation software providers.
The technique that the company used to manufacture it is called Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). The team at Nottingham, which specialises in this technique, says that it can cut design times, increase productivity and give significant insight to fluid flows.
Speedo AQUALAB scanned over 400 athletes, and obtained the scan for a series of top athletes. With the help of the CFD analysis, Dr. Morvan's team was able to pinpoint areas of high friction on the athlete's body.
The information thus gathered helped designers to position low friction fabric, exclusively developed by Speedo, in the right locations.
"CFD enabled us to use the compressive property of the suit to shape the body as ideally as possible, taking into account the physiological and bio-mechanical requirements of the athlete," Dr. Morvan said.
Speedo claims that its new suit has five per cent less drag than its 2007 suit, called the FS Pro, which saw swimmers break 21 world records.
Dr. Morvan, who is now working with Speedo towards the 2012 Olympics in London, said: "We are now building up toward active drag which accounts for the athlete motion and its interaction with the free surface. This should further validate the suit design as we move to the 2012 Olympics."