University of Rochester researchers, inspired by diving bell spiders and rafts of fire ants, have created a metallic structure that is so water repellent, it refuses to sink—no matter how often it is forced into water or how much it is damaged or punctured.
Could this lead to an unsinkable ship? A wearable flotation device that will still float after being punctured? Electronic monitoring devices that can survive in long term in the ocean?
The structure uses a groundbreaking technique the lab developed for using femtosecond bursts of lasers to “etch” the surfaces of metals with intricate micro- and nanoscale patterns that trap air and make the surfaces superhydrophobic, or water repellent.
The researchers found, however, that after being immersed in water for long periods of time, the surfaces may start to lose their hydrophobic properties.
Enter the spiders and fire ants, which can survive long periods under or on the surface of water. How? By trapping air in an enclosed area. Argyroneta aquatic spiders, for example, create an underwater dome-shaped web—a so-called diving bell— that they fill with air carried from the surface between their super-hydrophobic legs and abdomens. Similarly, fire ants can form a raft by trapping air among their superhydrophobic bodies.
“That was a very interesting inspiration,” Guo says. As the researchers note in the paper: “The key insight is that multifaceted superhydrophobic (SH) surfaces can trap a large air volume, which points towards the possibility of using SH surfaces to create buoyant devices.”
Guo’s lab created a structure in which the treated surfaces on two parallel aluminum plates face inward, not outward, so they are enclosed and free from external wear and abrasion. The surfaces are separated by just the right distance to trap and hold enough air to keep the structure floating—in essence creating a waterproof compartment. The superhydrophobic surfaces will keep water from entering the compartment even when the structure is forced to submerge in water.
Even after being forced to submerge for two months, the structures immediately bounced back to the surface after the load was released, Guo says. The structures also retained this ability even after being punctured multiple times, because air remains trapped in remaining parts of the compartment or adjoining structures.
Though the team used aluminum for this project, the “etching process “could be used for literally any metals, or other materials,” Guo says.
When the Guo lab first demonstrated the etching technique, it took an hour to pattern a one-inch-by-one-inch area of surface. Now, by using lasers seven times as powerful, and faster scanning, the lab has speeded up the process, making it more feasible for scaling up for commercial applications.
Coauthors include lead author Zhibing Zhan, Mohamed ElKabbash, Jihua Zhang, and Subhash Singh, all PhD candidates or postdoctoral fellows in Guo’s lab, and Jinluo Cheng, associate professor at the Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics, and Physics in China.
Learn more: Spiders and ants inspire metal that won’t sink
The Latest on: Floating metal
via Google News
The Latest on: Floating metal
- PlayStation 5 teardown reveals liquid metal cooling, upgradable stroageon October 7, 2020 at 8:48 am
The PlayStation 5 should not only be able to handle thermals much better than the PS4 Pro, but offers great user customization options with design and storage.
- A Growing Concern: Stress and Suicide on the Family Farmon October 6, 2020 at 10:16 pm
Farmers are taking their own lives in greater numbers as they cope with falling commodity prices, bad weather and isolation. To help, a small, dedicated group of health-care workers dole out hope and ...
- Crash 4 hidden gems: where to find all the hidden gems in Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Timeon October 5, 2020 at 3:44 am
There are a lot of Crash 4 gems to find, and in Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time these collectibles are slightly more hidden than previous games. Each level requires six gems to 100% it. While most ...
- Falklands flagship HMS Hermes reaches final destination where she will be turned into scrap metalon October 4, 2020 at 6:32 pm
Veteran aircraft carrier HMS Hermes has made her final voyage to the breakers' yard. She was the flagship of the British fleet during the Falklands war in 1982.
- Photographer Builds His Own Floating “Bird Hide” To Go Incognito in the Wildon October 4, 2020 at 11:03 am
"It is quite an amazing thing to sneak up on them and be right there to watch them and photograph them and they have no clue I’m there!" ...
- Crash 4 Hidden Gems Location Guide: Where To Find Every Hidden, N.Verted, And Colored Gemon October 2, 2020 at 3:31 pm
Here's how to find the much sought after hidden and color gems in Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time for PS4, Xbox, and PC.
- Peruzzi Collision Center Provides Quality Dent Repairon October 1, 2020 at 4:07 am
From plunging out a dent to using dry ice to contract the metal of the car's body, there are a ton of DIY dent repair ideas floating around the internet. Unfortunately, professionals know that drivers ...
- Maharashtra government submits action plan before NGT to tackle waste at Mumbai mangroveson September 30, 2020 at 12:14 pm
Two state bodies have chalked out an action plan to reduce waste that is affecting mangrove forests and coastal wetlands in Mumbai. The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and state mangrove ...
- Metal Shark Builds Custom 38' Research Tender for the R/V OceanXploreron September 28, 2020 at 8:40 pm
The custom 38-foot Defiant-class welded aluminum monohull pilothouse vessel will be carried aboard the recently-launched one-of-a-kind scientific research, media production, and exploration vessel, ...
- Metal Shark Builds Custom Tender for R/V OceanXploreron September 25, 2020 at 9:32 am
Shipbuilder Metal Shark reports it has delivered a new research tender to OceanX, a New York-based nonprofit ocean exploration ...
via Bing News