Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Electric Worm

Your average everyday worm is full of surprises. I found this on the web:

"Skin of earthworms repels soil adhesion with a thin water film, created by electro-osmotic flow.

Earthworms use self-generated electricity to aggregate minute quantities of water dispersed throughout soil, reducing their drag without toxic lubricants or external energy. At rest, the difference in electric potential between an earthworm’s surface and its environment is essentially zero, but the moment it starts to move, a negative electrical charge forms wherever its body is in motion, attracting positively-charged water molecules out of surrounding soil precisely where friction with the soil is greatest. This auto-lubrication results from small amounts of cutaneous bioelectrical current (e.g., 40 millivolts) extracting locally available water supplies from the interstitial spaces of the soil. Scale-up tests applying 12 volts of electrical current to bulldozer blades have demonstrated soil resistance reductions of up to 32% over conventional blades, representing dramatic potential energy savings, for instance, in site preparation activities."

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