Scientists test a shark bite-resistant wetsuit

January 28, 2019 | Surfing
Sharks: the majority of fatalities from shark bites is due to blood loss or the shock resulting from blood loss | Photo: Creative Commons

A group of researchers from Flinders University, in Australia, is developing a wetsuit that may save the lives of surfers, divers, and swimmers in case of a shark attack.

The material used in the creation of a suit of armor is similar to Kevlar and is designed to prevent the wounds that cause blood loss.

"The majority of fatalities from shark bites is due to blood loss or the shock resulting from blood loss," notes Charlie Huveneers, associate professor at Flinders University.

It is estimated that a great white shark's bit force is of 4,000 pounds per square inch (PSI). A human bite exerts between 150 and 200 PSI.

Shark teeth: a great white shark's bit force is of 4,000 pounds per square inch

A Bite That Breaks Bones

A great white shark has approximately 50 razor-sharp teeth which can easily break bones, but the new suit hopes to prevent tear lacerations.

"So, if we can reduce that blood loss from minimizing injuries, and with rapid emergency responses, we can hopefully increase the survival rates of people bitten by sharks," adds Huveneers.

The new material used in the protective suit will also be heat-resistant and will feature robust synthetic fiber typically used for stab and bullet resistant body armors.

Scientists will test the new wetsuit off the coast of Spencer Gulf, near Adelaide, with sharks in their natural environment.

Even though the chances of being attacked by a shark are infinitesimally small, surfers, divers, and swimmers will always be more exposed to the predator's assault.

Are you surfing in shark-infested waters? Learn how to survive a shark attack.

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