Researchers at Utah State University’s delightfully named Splash Lab have a plan to make boat rides in choppy water less bumpy.

In research published in the Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Randy Hurd and colleagues used high-speed cameras to film rigid and elastic spheres dropping into water. The footage, shot at 2000 frames per second, allowed them to analyse the way the sphere deformed, how the water moved, and how energy was transferred.

With this data in hand, they can now predict how an object made of a given material will interact with water.

“Being able to predict water interaction from a materials perspective is an important first step in understanding which material types would be best for developing an inflatable watercraft capable of providing a smoother ride over a choppy surface,” said Hurd.

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