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Scientists Develop Spider-Like Surface That Repels Water

Old 03-08-2010, 11:56 AM
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Default Scientists Develop Spider-Like Surface That Repels Water

In the comment below regarding boats, i wonder how that will effect hull designs, if at all.

Researchers at the University of Florida believe they've created a surface that repels water -- inspired by one of nature's eight-legged friends.

Engineers said they replicated the shape and patterns of the hairs that grow on spiders to create a "nearly perfect hydrophobic interface" on small pieces of flat plastic, reported.

The spider was the inspiration for the project because it uses its water-repelling hairs to stay dry or avoid drowning, the Web site reports. When water hits their bodies, it picks up and carries dirt with it, making the surface self cleaning.

Researchers believe this discovery could be used for food packing and windows --and in making boats faster and more efficient.

Wolfgang Sigmund, a professor of materials science and engineering, told that the plastic hairs -- placed in random and chaotic ways -- vary in size but average about 600 millionths of a meter.

Close-up photographs of water on the surface show that the droplets maintain their spherical shape. Sigmund said his surface is the first to shuttle droplets with no tail, reports.

While some water-repelling surfaces already exist, Sigmund's "spider" surface may reportedly be the most water phobic.
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Old 03-08-2010, 12:52 PM
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this will probably benefit boats like Americas Cup races more then anyone. Sounds like the film 3M was working with in the 80's that had microscopic grooves to accomplish a similar affect. cool stuff.
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Old 03-08-2010, 01:26 PM
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it will have no effect on high speed boats. If anything, slow displacement hull. Then the question of cost comes in. How much are costumers willing to pay for a .1mph gain? How easy is this stuff to attach to existing hulls or incorporate in new designs?
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Old 03-08-2010, 01:28 PM
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just wet sand the bottom
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