Shark Skin Biomimetic Fabrics 

Water droplets on fabric

Available for Licensing
TRL: 3 

IP Status

US Utility Patent Pending (Not Yet Published)


Yan Vivian Li
Jiayi Wen
Saloni Purandare

At A Glance

Researchers at Colorado State University have developed a 3D-printed fabric that mimics the surface of shark skin. These surface features enhance certain textile applications and properties, including water drag reduction, mechanical properties, water wicking properties, and antimicrobial properties. The precision of 3D printing creates extremely biosimilar surface properties, which create the fabric performance. Ongoing study of the fabric has produced promising hydrodynamic, strength (durability), and antimicrobial data.

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Licensing Director

Jessy McGowan

Reference No.:  2022-044


Biomimicry has been recently recognized as an innovative strategy for developing functional clothing and textiles. In one biomimetic development, tooth-like structures, called denticles, covering the shark skin surface are believed to play an important role on hydrodynamic effects. Current similar products attempt to recreate the properties provided by the denticles by imparting some marginal texture to surfaces. However, these imitations may impart some properties but do not fully mimic the shark skin enough to provide all the properties thought to be provided by denticles.

Technology Overview

Researchers have utilized the precision of 3D printing to accurately recreate the shark skin denticle structure. By recreating the exact structure found on shark skin, researchers have discovered functional clothing may perform better than synthetic surface structures and impart the effects of natural shark skin. These structures provide hydrodynamic and antimicrobial properties, and have shown enhanced durability, and may lead to performance fabrics and clothing in many areas.

  • Closer imitation of natural shark skin texture
  • Tunability of properties such as hydrodynamics
  • Customization of materials from 3D printing process
  • Enhanced antimicrobial properties
  • Durable surface texture for long lasting performance
  • Performance fabrics
    • Swimsuits
    • Outdoor clothing and gear
  • 3D printed materials
    • Medical devices
    • High touch-point areas that are hard to clean
    • High flow rate materials, such as pipes or pumps
In the News

Last updated: May 2022

Add keywords or various names of inventors here (text is hidden)

Yan Li, Vivian Li, Biomimetic, Shark Skin fabrics, 3D printing, swimming wears, functional clothing