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Skin stays clean: earthworm


Eartworm / Michael Linn.. / LicenseGFDL - Gnu Free Document License

Skin of earthworms stays clean while moving through moist soil because of electroosmotic flow near the body.

"[S]oil does not seem to adhere to earthworm surfaceAn important phenomenon of earthworms moving in moist soil is that the electric potential exists on an earthworm tissueThe electroosmotic flow near an earthworm body surface is a basic electrokinetic phenomenon that takes place when the earthworm moves in moist soil. The flow in a micro thin layer of water is formed in the vicinity of the earthworm body surface as a result of the electric double layer (EDL) interaction. Such a micro scale electroosmotic flow plays the role of lubrication between the earthworm body surface and the surrounding medium of moist soil and reduces surface adhesion." (Zu and Yan 2006:179)
About the inspiring organism

Learn more at
Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist

Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: Lubricant technique, especially for keeping moving parts clean in moist conditions.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Mining, construction, manufacturing

Applied Thermofluids, Biomimetics and Modelling
Yuying Yan
School of the Built Environment, University of Nottingham
Zu YQ; Yan YY. 2006. Numerical simulation of electroosmotic flow near earthworm surface. Journal of Bionic Engineering. 3: 179-186.
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