New waterproof surfaces engineered inspired by natural elements from sources such as duck feathers, butterfly wings or lotus leaves
“Engineers from Brigham Young University are developing extremely waterproof surfaces that they believe could dramatically improve the efficiency of both power plants and solar energy systems. These surfaces, called superhydrophobic surfaces, are extremely difficult to wet since they cause water to aggregate and form beads that sit on the surface.”
The potential for effective engineered superhydrophobic surfaces is enormous both from a technology and economic point of view. Indeed, various currently operating systems are not functioning at their optimal efficiency or are expensive to maintain. A good example would be deposits of micro organisms on ships surfaces which requires more energy to power them and costs the shipping industry billions of dollars in maintenance and operating costs every year; superhydrophobic coatings on ships surfaces could significantly reduce the buildup of algae and other organisms. Another application would be in the condensers of energy power-plants to greatly improve the efficiency of the process..
Image credit: BYU. Microscopic posts used to create the superhydrophobic surfaces.
What is Biomimetics: the field of gaining inspiration from nature first to solve some of our most difficult challenges. Instead of coming up with our own solutions to a problematic, the odds are that species on the planet already offer an ultimate solution. This simple fact is also another strong case to preserve species at all cost as the intellectual heritage contained within or through the study of species is both irreplaceable and invaluable…