Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Not so easy to imitate nature

The idea was to solve the problem of de-icing airplane wings. But the result of the research project at Linköping University in Sweden was just the opposite: the possibility of artificially freezing ice at high temperatures.

Biomimetics is the science that tries to imitate nature’s solutions to various problems. One approach is to apply biological principles to the construction of new products, another to copy molecular building blocks for new purposes.

Researchers at the Section for Molecular Physics at Linköping University in Sweden got interested in proteins that exist in fish in polar areas, such as flounders, in order to keep their blood from freezing. Arctic sea water can reach -2 degrees centigrade, a temperature where normal fish would freeze to death.

Doctoral student Annika Borgh started a project to try to utilize properties of these anti-freeze proteins, which exist in two forms: with and without a sugar group attached. The proteins bind to the surface of tiny ‘ice embryos’ and prevent the formation of ice crystals.

... more about:
»Annika »Borgh »Surface »anti-freeze »temperature

In the fish, the protein is loose in the blood, but Annika Borgh wanted to have them on a surface, such as on an airplane wing, where they might be able to prevent the formation of ice, which is a huge problem at airports in winter. But the proteins don’t like being on surfaces, so she developed molecules with sugar and methyl groups, though without the protein skeleton as such. These were applied to a plate with a surface of gold, where they organized themselves in a so-called monolayer.

Water was condensed on the surface, and the plate was chilled. The surprising result was that the water froze at a higher temperature when there were anti-freeze molecules on the surface than when they weren’t there.

“The anti-freeze protein probably functions only in solutions, where it can prevent ice embryos from forming from all directions. Instead, we should be able to make use of the reverse effect, to freeze ice rinks using less energy, for instance, or perhaps to develop a polymer with these properties that can be painted onto a surface,” says Annika Borgh.

Åke Hjelm | alfa
Further information:

Further reports about: Annika Borgh Surface anti-freeze temperature

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>