• 2019 November 11 16:44

    University of Rochester create a metallic structure that won't sink

    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, the University website reports.

    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?

    All of the above, says Chunlei Guo, professor of optics and physics, whose lab describes the structure in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces.

    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.

    The project was supported by funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the US Army Research Office, and National Science Foundation.




2020 November 23

18:24 North P&I Club pre-renewal report confirms corrective response to market challenges
18:00 RF Government is set to reorganize the structure of development institutions
17:13 4th International Congress “Hydraulic Engineering Structures and Dredging” slated for 25-26 February 2021
16:34 Damen completes Eidsvaag Opal conversion
16:28 STLC and VEB-Leasing to be consolidated into Unified Leasing Company
16:05 Aker Solutions wins maintenance and modifications contract in Brazil from Equinor
15:41 Vard secures contract for eight marine robotic vessels
15:17 RF Transport Ministry confirms its intention to introduce investment charges in seaports from 2021
14:53 Hydrographic boat of Project 19920 joins RF Navy’s Northern Fleet
14:31 Concordia Maritime CFO resigns from his position
14:09 Friendship 2020 joint exercise of the Egyptian Navy and the Russian Navy Bridge ends at the Black Sea Fleet
13:25 Ningbo Containerized Freight index rises by 19.8% in November 2020
12:34 Average spot market price for Russian M100 product climbed to RUB 13,184 pmt
12:12 The UK could increase its ambitions for renewable energy at a lower cost to consumers, new Wärtsilä analysis finds
12:02 Chinese ports container throughput down 0.03% to 217.2 million TEU from January to October 2020
11:53 Global Ports and TransContainer launch expedited delivery of pellets from Siberia to Europe via Saint Petersburg
11:11 Brodosplit lays keels for two coastal patrol vessels
10:19 HELCOM revamps its tool for tracking implementation progress
10:12 MacGregor supports China’s Lingshui 17-2 gas field development
09:57 MABUX: Bunker Market this morning, Nov 23
09:41 Container throughput of port Shanghai (China) in 10M’20 fell by 1.7%
09:25 Oil prices rise on hope for demand recovery
09:12 Baltic Dry Index as of November 20

2020 November 22

16:23 Ørsted and NABTU sign landmark MOU for U.S. offshore wind workforce transition
15:18 Port Canaveral cruise terminal parking to feature E-PASS® contactless transaction technology
14:21 USCG Cutter Stratton returns home after crewmembers test positive for COVID
13:26 New Wallenius SOL service delivers 200,000 extra tonnes of paper reels to PSA Zeebrugge terminal
12:18 Port NOLA's Brandy D. Christian receives 2020 C. Alvin Bertel Award
11:41 BPA announces the release of UK Ports industry magazine
10:42 Coast Guard Cutter Diligence returns to homeport from Caribbean patrol

2020 November 21

16:12 Impact assessment agency of Canada interim report an incomplete analysis omitting a number of important facts
15:49 Cummins introduces X15 Stage V solution for European inland waterways
15:18 Belfast Harbour supports launch of Maritime Belfast Trust
14:07 Remote repair helmet overcomes pandemic restrictions
13:39 Armstrong Marine USA of Port Angeles, Wa. launches new identity as BRIX MARINE
12:24 Mackay provides electronics package for two Vigor-built pilot boats commissioned by Los Angeles Pilot Service
11:38 Third quarter 2020 business activity strong CMA CGM Group operating performance

2020 November 20

18:00 CMA CGM to launch the FLAMINGO EXPRESS service
17:49 Senior Arctic Officials’ plenary meeting held in a virtual format
17:05 Australia to end crew contract extensions
16:52 Port of Algeciras was awarded the ESPO Award 2020
16:33 FSUE "Rosmorport" takes part in International Forum "Transport of Russia"
16:05 MOL's new app boosts efficiency with real-time processing of ship operational data
15:40 Novotrans ensured 100-pct loading of Baltiysk ferry on Ust-Luga-Baltiysk line
15:08 ABP invests around £2 million in new lock gates in Ipswich
14:22 PD Ports unveils plans for River Tees Digital Platform
14:05 Rosterminalugol handled over 23.4 million tonnes year-to-date, up 8% YoY
13:44 Tallink receives Finnish Government guarantee for additional loan
13:21 Golar and Black & Veatch announce collaboration in floating ammonia production, carbon capture, green LNG and other emerging technologies
13:03 Zvezda starts cutting steel for lead LNG tanker of new ARC 7 class series
12:10 The “ECO Valencia” arrives to València
11:37 Maersk works with the Long Beach Harbor Trucking Association
10:55 MABUX: Bunker Market this morning, Nov 20
10:46 Wärtsilä 14 EU Stage V compliant engines selected for Swiss Inland ferries
10:44 Sovcomflot expects revival of global trade in 2021
09:51 Bunker prices decrease at the Port of Saint-Petersburg, Russia (graph)
09:33 Oil prices are recovering
09:18 Baltic Dry Index as of November 19

2020 November 19

18:25 Klaveness Combination Carriers posts Q3 2020 results
18:06 Lloyd’s Register appointed Commercial Manager for North Europe