Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Novel materials shake ship scum

Date:
January 31, 2013
Source:
Duke University
Summary:
Just as horses shake off pesky flies by twitching their skin, ships may soon be able to shed the unwanted accumulation of bacteria and other marine growth with the flick of a switch.

This is an artist's illustration of a surface repelling biofilms.
Credit: Phanindhar Shivapooja and Qiming Wang

Just as horses shake off pesky flies by twitching their skin, ships may soon be able to shed the unwanted accumulation of bacteria and other marine growth with the flick of a switch.

Duke University engineers have developed a material that can be applied like paint to the hull of a ship and will literally be able to dislodge bacteria, keeping it from accumulating on the ship's surface. This buildup on ships increases drag and reduces the energy efficiency of the vessel, as well as blocking or clogging undersea sensors.

The material works by physically moving at the microscopic level, knocking the bacteria away. This avoids the use of bacteria-killing paints, which can contain heavy metals or other toxic chemicals that might accumulate in the environment and unintentionally harm fish or other marine organisms.

The Duke researchers also say that similar types of materials could be used in other settings where the buildup of bacteria -- known as biofilms -- presents problems, such as on the surfaces of artificial joint implants or water purification membranes.

"We have developed a material that 'wrinkles,' or changes it surface in response to a stimulus, such as stretching or pressure or electricity," said Duke engineer Xuanhe Zhao, assistant professor in Duke's Pratt School of Engineering. "This deformation can effectively detach biofilms and other organisms that have accumulated on the surface."

The results of the Duke studies were published online in the journal Advanced Materials.

Zhao has already demonstrated the ability of electric current to deform, or change, the surface of polymers.

"Nature has offered many solutions to deal with this buildup of biological materials that we as engineers can try to recreate," said Gabriel López, professor of biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering and materials science. He also serves as director of Research Triangle Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC), which is funded by the National Science Foundation.

"For example, the hair-like structures known as cilia can move foreign particles from the lungs and respiratory tract," Lopez said. "In the same manner, these types of structures are used by mollusks and corals to keep their surfaces clean. To date, however, it is been difficult to reproduce the cilia, but controlling the surface of a material could achieve the same result."

The researchers tested their approach in the laboratory with simulated seawater, as well as on barnacles. These experiments were conducted in collaboration with Daniel Rittschof the Duke University Marine Lab in Beaufort, N.C.

Keeping bacteria from attaching to ship hulls or other submerged objects can prevent a larger cascade of events that can reduce performance or efficiency. Once they have taken up residence on a surface, bacteria often attract larger organisms, such as seaweed and larva of other marine organisms, such as worms, bivalves, barnacles or mussels.

"It is known that bacterial films can recruit other organisms, so stopping the accumulation process from the beginning in the first place would make a lot of sense," Lopez said.

The project is funded by the U.S. Office of Naval Research and the MRSEC. Other members of the Duke team are Phanindhar Shivapooja, Qiming Wang and Beatriz Orihuela.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Duke University. The original article was written by Richard Merritt. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Phanindhar Shivapooja, Qiming Wang, Beatriz Orihuela, Daniel Rittschof, Gabriel P. López, Xuanhe Zhao. Bioinspired Surfaces with Dynamic Topography for Active Control of Biofouling. Advanced Materials, 2013; DOI: 10.1002/adma.201203374

Cite This Page:

Duke University. "Novel materials shake ship scum." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130131095230.htm>.
Duke University. (2013, January 31). Novel materials shake ship scum. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130131095230.htm
Duke University. "Novel materials shake ship scum." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130131095230.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) — Scientists have developed a new device that mimics the way octopuses blend in with their surroundings to hide from dangerous predators. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) — A solar cell that resembles a flower is offering a new take on green energy in Japan, where one scientist is searching for renewables that look good. Duration: 01:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tiny Satellites, Like The One Tossed From ISS, On The Rise

Tiny Satellites, Like The One Tossed From ISS, On The Rise

Newsy (Aug. 18, 2014) — The Chasqui I, hand-delivered into orbit by a Russian cosmonaut, is one of hundreds of small satellites set to go up in the next few years. 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