The bivalves can’t get a grip on this slippery silicone material
Shellfish stowaways on boat hulls could become castaways, thanks to a superslippery material.
Crowds of mussels can grab onto ships, piers and other infrastructure. They slow down the boats they commandeer, and they’re expensive to remove. The hitchhikers can even travel to new places and become invasive species (SN: 3/18/17, p. 30). A new lubricant-infused material could one day help prevent mussels from getting a grip in the first place, scientists report in the Aug. 18 Science.
Researchers modified a flexible silicone material to which Asian green mussels (Perna viridis) ordinarily stick liberally, suffusing it with a silicone lubricant. Some of the lubricant forms a thin, liquid layer and smooths out any microscopic