Acorn barnacles, which are animals, are among the most notorious stowaways at sea. A vessel with its hull covered by their hard calcium shells moves more slowly and uses more fuel.
The most common method to prevent surface fouling is to apply toxic hull paint. The most effective substance has been tributhyl tin (TBT), which is now totally banned. But until now no really good alternatives to toxic paint have been found.
"Our strategy, instead, is to design surfaces that the barnacle glue doesn't stick to. The idea is for the larvae to swim off and find another place to fasten themselves for the rest of their lives," says Tobias Ekblad, a doctoral candidate in molecular physics and an associate in the EU project AMBIO.
To study how a larva walks around on its 'feet' - actually the front parts of a couple of antennae - and leaves micrometer-size footprints, the scientists make use of so-called surface plasmon resonance. This measurement method, based on electromagnetic wave movements in the interface between the surface and sea water, can detect the minimal optical changes that occur when the thin (10 millionths of a millimeter) footprints are made. In this way they can see in real time how the prints occur and monitor their movements back and forth across the surface.
The findings presented in Tobias Ekblad's thesis show that what determines whether the larvae like a surface or not is chemistry. Ekblad has developed a method to cover a material with a thin layer of water-filled gel, a hydrogel, that has been tested with different chemical components. For example, layers containing the polymer polyethylene glycol (PEG) have been shown to yield excellent results.
The researchers have also studied the effect of how blood coagulates on various surfaces, a problem that is encountered when prostheses are operated into the body. As in the barnacle growth project, they have found that the usable materials are those that dramatically decrease the binding of proteins to the surface.
Pressofficer Åke Hjelm, +46-13281 395;firstname.lastname@example.org
Reference link: AMBIO (Advanced Nanostructured Surfaces for the Control of Biofouling http://www.ambio.bham.ac.uk/index.shtml
Åke Hjelm | idw
The birth of a new protein
20.10.2017 | University of Arizona
Building New Moss Factories
20.10.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
20.10.2017 | Information Technology
20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research