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"Oil Strider" Device Mimics Water Strider Insects 39

Posted by samzenpus
from the tech-imitates-life dept.
LilaG writes "Who hasn't marveled at the ability of water bugs to skate along the surface of lakes and ponds? Now materials scientists in China have taken a cue from water striders and created a device that can coast along the surface between oil and water. The tricky part was figuring out how to make an oil-repelling surface that worked underwater. It came down to coating copper wires with copper oxide microstructures that look like flowers made up of nanopetals. Scientists think such coatings could enable robots that clean up oil spills, bug-proof car windshields, and ship hulls that don't build up barnacles."
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"Oil Strider" Device Mimics Water Strider Insects

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  • "Who hasn't marveled at the ability of water bugs to skate along the surface of lakes and ponds?"

  • In oil spills, the oil floats on top of the wate, not the other way around. How can this help clean up oil spills?
    • by Lifyre (960576)

      In Soviet Russia...

    • by Dekker3D (989692)

      It'll still reject the oil, but the new thing is that this thing won't sink in oil instantly if a drop of water gets on it.

    • In oil spills, the oil floats on top of the wate, not the other way around. How can this help clean up oil spills?

      If you read the summary, you'd learn that these things stride on the border between the oil and water, not between the oil and air - they're in the perfect place to clean up the oil.

      If you clicked on the link, you could have even just looked at the picture [acs.org]. Then you wouldn't have had to read anything. Slashdot Posters: Lowering Expectations Daily.

    • In oil spills, the oil floats on top of the wate, not the other way around. How can this help clean up oil spills?

      I know it is not for the faint of heart but a quote from the article below means for the test they used an oil that is denser than water, so that means it's below the water/air barrier.

      To test the surfaceâ(TM)s ability to repel oil, Wangâ(TM)s team placed the wires underwater and added droplets of 1,2-dichloroethane, an oil that is denser than water, to their surfaces.

    • by Pope (17780)

      Whoa! They'd have enough salt to last forever!

  • by Anrego (830717) * on Thursday June 07, 2012 @08:42AM (#40242991)

    could enable robots that clean up oil spills

    Yeah yeah how great for humani..

    bug-proof car windshields

    Oh glorious age of science!

    I know I'm a terrible person.. but as someone who does a fair bit of highway driving.. I really hope they roll that one out. While they are at it.. paint up my hood and bumper too (much harder to clean).

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      I know I'm a terrible person.. but as someone who does a fair bit of highway driving.. I really hope they roll that one out.

      What about something like Rain X windshield wash? It's basically a waxy coating that lets stuff slide off it so the water tends to form droplets instead of sheeting.

      While they are at it.. paint up my hood and bumper too (much harder to clean).

      Again, wouldn't a good coat of wax help here? Stuff might stick to the wax, but it should clean off easier.

  • These Chinese scientists should start inventing their own technology rather than ripping off Mother Nature's intellectual property.

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