Scientists May Have Uncovered A Way to Create Unsinkable Ships

Scientists May Have Uncovered A Way to Create Unsinkable Ships

Grace Davis, Contributor

Though our building and intelligence has increased over the years, catastrophes and ship accidents can still take place. In fact there has been a recent occurrence in a case such as this. Sowmya Kolluru writes on Dogonews explaining, “The most recent disaster occurred in May 2019, when a sightseeing boat on the Danube River in Hungary capsized and sank after colliding with a river cruise ship, killing 28 of the 35 tourists aboard.” Researchers may have discovered a way to prevent the people on board from dying. Sowmya Kolluru writes again concerning the facts behind this, “The team, led by the university’s optics and physics professor Chunlei Guo, began by creating tiny grooves on a metal surface with femtosecond — one quadrillionth of a second — laser blasts. The air trapped inside the tiny etchings helped form a protective barrier around the exterior, causing water droplets to slide off.” The experiment only lasted for a short amount of time and it caused friction on the water for too long of a time that the hydrophobic ability began to disappear from the metal.

From this new turn of events, researchers didn’t lose hope in finding a solution. They changed their focus to specific insects that could help them in this sort of situation. These insects were: the Argyroneta aquatica, or diving bell spider, and the fire ant. These insects both use techniques that help them survive in water for an extended period of time. Sowmya Kolluru describes how they manage to do so, “The arachnids, who spend their entire lives underwater, carry their oxygen supply with them inside a dome-shaped web that sits between their super-hydrophobic legs and abdomens. When the air runs out, the spiders simply return to the water’s surface and create another bubble. Though fire ants do not live underwater, they are known to survive floods by linking their bodies close enough together to develop raft-like structures. This helps trap air between the insects’ water-resistant limbs and allows them to stay afloat.”

These insects inspired researchers to create unsinkable metal. This metal has two laser-treated aluminum surfaces and are attached together with a central bole that is carefully measured so the perfect amount of air. The researchers tested the metal by placing a weight of some sort on top of it for two months. Everytime the weight was lifted off, the metal bounced right back up to the surface of the water. Chunlei Guo has shared his experiment and comments and what he thinks could come from it, “This could lead to an unsinkable ship, a wearable flotation device that will still float after being punctured and even electronic monitoring devices that can survive in long term in the ocean.” The process of creating unsinkable ships is amazing. Our knowledge and capacity to discover new things led to a new lifesaving inquiry. If scientists are able to use this new assessment, traveling on the ocean will be safer and hopefully people will not be as frightened or scared to travel on the ocean.