Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Specialized seeds can really float your boat

Date:
July 5, 2011
Source:
Society for Experimental Biology
Summary:
A new artificial surface inspired by floating seeds could provide an alternative to the toxic paints currently used to prevent fouling on ship hulls. The artificial surface, developed by German scientists, is covered with fibers to prevent marine organisms from settling -- the same strategy used by the seeds.

The evolution of a seed-inspired anti-fouling coating. From extreme left: Dypsis rivularis seeds; Electron microscope image of the seed surface; Electron microscope image of the artificial surface based on the seeds; Test panel of artificial surface after 12 weeks in the North Sea, showing minimal fouling.
Credit: Biomimetics-Innovation-Centre (B-I-C), University of Applied Sciences

A new artificial surface inspired by floating seeds, which could provide an alternative to the toxic paints currently used to prevent fouling on ship hulls, has been developed by German scientists.

Scientists from the Biomimetics-Innovation-Centre have developed a new anti-fouling surface based on a seed from a species of palm tree. "These plants have seeds which are dispersed by the ocean currents. As it is an advantage for these seeds to remain free of fouling to allow them to disperse further, we guessed they might have specialised surfaces we could mimic," explains Katrin Mühlenbruch, a PhD researcher who is presenting this work at the Society for Experimental Biology Annual Conference in Glasgow on the 4th of July 2011.

The researchers floated seeds from 50 species in the North Sea for 12 weeks. The seeds of 12 species showed no fouling at all. "We then began by examining the micro-structure of the seeds' surfaces, to see if we could translate them into an artificial surface. The seeds we chose to mimic had a hairy-like structure," says Ms. Mühlenbruch. "This structure might be especially good at preventing fouling because the fibres constantly move, preventing marine organisms from finding a place to settle."

Using a silicone base the scientists created an artificial surface similar to the seeds, with fibres covering the surface. Currently the new surface is being trialled by floating it in the sea. "Initial results are quite good," says Ms. Mühlenbruch. "But we still have a long way to go"

Fouling by seaweeds and marine animals is a problem for the shipping industry, resulting in increased fuel costs. Currently the only solutions are highly toxic and environmentally damaging marine paints which are specifically designed to leach biocides to prevent organisms settling on the hull. "Our aim is to provide a new toxin-free and bio-inspired ship coating," says Ms. Mühlenbruch. "This would prevent environmental damage while allowing ships to operate efficiently."

Future work will include analysing the chemical composition of the seeds' surface, to find out whether this adds to their anti-fouling properties.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for Experimental Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society for Experimental Biology. "Specialized seeds can really float your boat." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110703222927.htm>.
Society for Experimental Biology. (2011, July 5). Specialized seeds can really float your boat. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110703222927.htm
Society for Experimental Biology. "Specialized seeds can really float your boat." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110703222927.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) — An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

Reuters - US Online Video (July 21, 2014) — An endangered black rhino baby is the newest resident at the San Diego Zoo. Sasha Salama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) — A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) — Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins