From left: Dypsis rivularis seeds; Electron microscope image of the seed surface; Electron microscope image of the artificial surface; Artificial surface after 12 weeks in the North Sea, showing minimal fouling (Image: Biomimetics-Innovation-Centre (B-I-C), University of Applied Sciences)
The wooden hull of HMS Surprise is given a high-power wash to remove barnacles and other marine hitchhikers (Image: Glenn Batuyong via Flickr)
With marine biofouling on ship hulls increasing drag, which results in an increase in fuel consumption and therefore cost and pollution, the search has been on for a way to prevent fouling that is better than the environmentally damaging, toxic marine paints currently used. Taking inspiration from floating seeds, scientists from the Biomimetics-Innovation-Centre (B-I-C) in Germany have developed a promising new anti-fouling surface that is toxin-free.
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