|Pirouz Kavehpour, a professor at UCLA, poses with |
a penguin. He and his colleagues studied the
feathers of penguins to learn their anti-icing tricks.
Credit: Pirouz Kavehpour/UCLA
Now researchers have examined penguin feathers in extreme detail and think they know the penguins' anti-icing trick: a combination of nanostructures and a special oil make Antarctic penguin feathers superhydropobic (ultra-water-repelling). Droplets of water on the feathers bead up so much that it's difficult for heat to flow out of the droplet, and the water will roll off before it has time to freeze.
The researchers presented their findings at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society's Division of Fluid Dynamics, held this month in Boston.