In the sea, a whale’s skin is home to barnacles, algae, and bacteria. In contrast, shark skin is squeaky clean. Parasites appear unable to attach to the shark skin. It is thought that the many small ridges and bumps on the shark’s skin surface discourage attachment. Bacteria prefer to colonize a smooth surface; a textured surface many require too much energy. The shark skin does not kill bacteria but simply discourages their presence. As a result, there is little chance of bacteria overcoming their resistance to shark skin.
In hospitals nursing call buttons, bed rails, and tray tables.
In restaurant door handles, especially in public restrooms
Continue reading Shark Skin as an bacteria barrier
Long-finned pilot whales swim in cool regions of the oceans. They grow to 12-16 feet in length and weigh several tons. The whales are characterized by an enlarged forehead and a swimming behavior similar to dolphins. The creatures are found to have highly-specialized apparatus for maintaining smooth, clean skin. Countless tiny surface pores produce a slime coating. The gel washes off with movement and is continually replenished. This “skin care” prevents bacteria and algae from gaining a foothold and forming growth colonies. The whale’s surface chemicals also contain enzymes that repel microorganisms. This feature in turn avoids barnacles, tubeworms and other marine life which are otherwise attracted to underwater surfaces.
How can the production of “slime” by pilot whales possibly be useful as a technical application?
clean ships without cleaning
Continue reading Pilot Whale for a Self-cleaning Ship Hull and safe of fuel costs
Cement is made from limestone and other ingredients in a high temperature kiln process above 1300°C. One by product of the cement preparation is a large amount of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas which is not friendly to the environment when in excess amounts.
Scientists at Stanford University, led by Brent Constantz, have found an alternative to traditional cement production. They study coral which forms the largest biologically formed structures in the world.
convert CO2 gas from powerplants to concret
Continue reading CO2 gas could be converted to concret
Many American alligators live in stagnant, polluted waters. Their diet includes diseased, infected, and injured animals. In addition, fierce battles with prey often lead to wounds. Nevertheless, the alligators tend to remain healthy.
Continue reading Alligator Blood for Antibiotics
Look closely at many tree and plant leaves and you will see an intricate network of veins. Besides the channels branching outward from a central stem, you may also notice many smaller veins in random directions, connecting with each other in closed loops. This complex arrangement is unlike the simple outward geometry of tree branches and root systems. The structure provides protection for the leaf. Suppose there is damage from disease, insects, or wind so that a vein is broken. Nutrients and water can then take alternate paths across the leaf through adjacent veins. Even the larger, central vein of the leaf can be successfully bypassed. The multiple veins also allow for fluctuations in nutrient loads due to moisture and temperature changes. Similar loop network designs are observed in coral colonies, insect wings, and the blood vessels of our eye.
create safe complex systems
Continue reading inspired by a tree: bypassing problems will make complex systems more fail-safe
Sugar beets provide 30 percent of the world’s sugar. At refineries, the sugar is extracted and a liquid residue remains. In the upper Midwest, it was noticed that this residue, placed in holding ponds, did not freeze under wintry conditions. Chemical studies reveal a natural antifreeze chemical in the beets. This design feature protects the growing beets themselves from the cold, and also caught the attention of highway crews.
Continue reading Ice-free roads caused by sugar?
German engineers have applied the tooth sharpening ability of rodents to cutting tools.
Beavers, rats, rabbits and similar rodents depend on their teeth for survival. They are experts at gnawing, and their teeth are designed with a self-sharpening ability. Unlike our own, rodent teeth are covered with enamel on only the front side. Softer dentine is exposed on the back of the front teeth. As the rodent chews and wears down its teeth, it alternates grinding its lower incisors against either the front or the back of the upper incisors. As a result, the hard enamel slowly wears down the softer dentine and the teeth remain sharp. The teeth also continue to grow from the root, maintaining their length. The animals must continue to gnaw or their teeth will outgrow their mouth.
self shaping tools
Continue reading beaver teeths for sharp cutting-tools
Wind turbines are the Colossus of the modern landscape, their blades sweeping circles more than a football field in diameter. Critics call them unsightly and say that the rotating blades clobber unsuspecting birds.
John Dabiri of Caltech found a solution underwater. He built an experimental wind farm — the Caltech Field Laboratory for Optimized Wind Energy (FLOWE) — in which the location of turbines relative to each other takes advantage of the air flow among them.
Continue reading shoals of fish will offer their secret for windfarms
Certain spiders protect their delicately crafted insect nets with a special silk rope that reflects ultraviolet rays. Birds can see the ultraviolet rays and recognize the webs as obstacles they should avoid.
If engineers can reproduce the effect, it might save birds from their occasional accidental suicide runs into glassy buildings. German engineers at Arnold Glas copied the spiders and glazed their Ornilux-brand glass with a web-like pattern of ultraviolet-reflecting coating to save the birds from high-speed headaches.
innovative glas against birds collision
Continue reading Spider Web Glass