-- Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a way to coat metal parts with a slick, waterproof coating that may one day eliminate the need to de-ice plane wings. The engineers stretch a chemical base over the wing, add a nonstick, hydrophobic coating, then let the base relax again. The process creates a dense layer of strongly bonded coating so slippery that even ice can't adhere to it. The scientists also hope the coating could deter blood cells and other biological agents from adhering to medical implants.
-- Scientists at the University of Bath in Britain are using an ultrasound probe to understand the growth of minute damage in polymer airplane parts reinforced with carbon fiber. Although these hybrid materials are stronger and lighter than metals, they're vulnerable to stress caused by repeated impacts from the likes of stones or hail. The researchers found that if the stress is kept below a critical level, the carbon-fiber parts can withstand over a million flights without failing. The data will be used to design longer-lasting, ultralight aircraft parts.By Petti Fong; Edited by Adam Aston