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 Don't Give the Slightest Chance to Toxic Elements in Medicinal Products
23.03.2018 | Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB)

nachricht North and South Cooperation to Combat Tuberculosis
22.03.2018 | 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: Space observation with radar to secure Germany's space infrastructure

Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.

The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

New solar solutions for sustainable buildings and cities

23.03.2018 | Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

For graphite pellets, just add elbow grease

23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Unique communication strategy discovered in stem cell pathway controlling plant growth

23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Sharpening the X-ray view of the nanocosm

23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>