Measuring shark bite force with load cells

Metromatics Pty Ltd

Friday, 04 August, 2017


Measuring shark bite force with load cells

As part of Shark Week 2017, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps took part in a 100 m race against a computer-simulated great white shark — a race which he narrowly lost. But have you ever wondered what the bite force of this massive predator is?

Getting into the spirit of Shark Week, FUTEK, a supplier of test and measurement equipment, teamed up with the engineers at Peacock Productions to create a shark bite force measurement application. The results were screened on the Discovery Channel program Shark School.

The engineers’ set-up mounted several FUTEK LTH500 donut load cells into a mould that simulated a shark’s prey. When the shark bit down upon the mould, the sensors captured the force applied. This output was then summed with the IAC200 Summing Junction Box and sent to the IHH500 Digital Hand Held Display, where the test engineers monitored and logged all resulting data.

Up until the day of the experiment, the greatest bite force of a great white shark was said to be 6000 N. After the Shark School episode, that measurement jumped to 10,000 N — equivalent to a car crashing into a wall at over 160 km/h. Now there’s something to think about next time you go swimming!

Image credit: ©FreeImages.com/Chatrin O Rockerz

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