Bio-inspired design of ice-retardant devices based on benthic marine invertebrates: the effect of surface texture

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Homayun MehrabaniDennis Evangelista


Growth of ice on surfaces poses a challenge for both organisms and for devices that come into contact with liquids below the freezing point. Resistance of some organisms to ice formation and growth, either in subtidal environments (e.g. Antarctic anchor ice), or in environments with moisture and cold air (e.g. plants, intertidal) begs examination of how this is accomplished. Several factors may be important in promoting or mitigating ice formation. As a start, here we examine the effect of surface texture alone. We tested four candidate surfaces, inspired by hard-shelled marine invertebrates and constructed using a three-dimensional printing process. We screened biological and artifical samples for ice formation and accretion in submerged conditions using previous methods, and developed a new test to examine ice formation from surface droplets as might be encountered in environments with moist, cold air. It appears surface texture plays only a small role in delaying the onset of ice formation: a stripe feature (corresponding to patterning found on valves of blue mussels, Mytilus edulis , or on the spines of the Antarctic sea urchin Sterechinus neumayeri) slowed ice formation an average of 25% compared to a grid feature (corresp...Continue Reading

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