Date: February 24, 2016
Source: American Chemical Society
Humboldt penguins live in places that dip below freezing in the winter, and despite getting wet, their feathers stay sleek and free of ice. Scientists have now figured out what could make that possible. They report in ACS' Journal of Physical Chemistry that the key is in the microstructure of penguins' feathers. Based on their findings, the scientists replicated the architecture in a nanofiber membrane that could be developed into an ice-proof material.
The range of Humboldt penguins extends from coastal
Peru to the tip
of southern .
Some of these areas can get frigid, and the water the birds swim in is part of
a cold ocean current that sweeps up the coast from the Antarctic. Their
feathers keep them both warm and ice-free. Scientists had suspected that
penguin feathers' ability to easily repel water explained why ice doesn't
accumulate on them: Water would slide off before freezing. But research has
found that under high humidity or ultra-low temperatures, ice can stick to even
superhydrophobic surfaces. So Jingming Wang and colleagues sought another