Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Swedish scientists stop acorn barnacles

15.03.2010
Marine organisms that fasten to the bottoms of ships have always been a scourge to seafaring. By monitoring how the larvae of acorn barnacles go about finding suitable spots to attach themselves, researchers at Linköping University in Sweden have managed to design surfaces that prevent growths - without using poisonous chemicals.

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.

Contact:
Tobias Ekblad, phone: +46 (0)13-285648; mobile: +46 (0)70-3345768, tobias.ekblad@liu.se

Pressofficer Åke Hjelm, +46-13281 395;ake.hjem@liu.se

Reference link: AMBIO (Advanced Nanostructured Surfaces for the Control of Biofouling http://www.ambio.bham.ac.uk/index.shtml

Åke Hjelm | idw
Further information:
http://www.ambio.bham.ac.uk/index.shtml
http://liu.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2:302627
http://www.ambio.bham.ac.uk/index.shtml AMBIO

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Symbiotic bacteria: from hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard
28.04.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

nachricht Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
28.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>