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Wrinkly coating can shimmy off bacteria

Applied to the hull of a ship like paint, a new material could shake off scum by moving in response to an electric current.

Bacterial buildup on ships increases drag and reduces the energy efficiency of the vessel, as well as blocking or clogging undersea sensors.

The material works by physically moving at the microscopic level, knocking the bacteria away. This avoids the use of bacteria-killing paints, which can contain heavy metals or other toxic chemicals that might accumulate in the environment and unintentionally harm fish or other marine organisms.

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