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Keeping cool: Enhanced optical reflection and radiative heat dissipation in Saharan silver ants


Shi, N. N; Tsai, C-C; Camino, F; Bernard, G D; Yu, N; Wehner, R (2015). Keeping cool: Enhanced optical reflection and radiative heat dissipation in Saharan silver ants. Science, 349(6245):298-301.

Abstract

Saharan silver ants, Cataglyphis bombycina, forage under extreme temperature conditions in the African desert. We show that the ants' conspicuous silvery appearance is created by a dense array of triangular hairs with two thermoregulatory effects. They enhance not only the reflectivity of the ant's body surface in the visible and near-infrared range of the spectrum, where solar radiation culminates, but also the emissivity of the ant in the mid-infrared. The latter effect enables the animals to efficiently dissipate heat back to the surroundings via blackbody radiation under full daylight conditions. This biological solution for a thermoregulatory problem may lead to the development of biomimetic coatings for passive radiative cooling of objects.

Abstract

Saharan silver ants, Cataglyphis bombycina, forage under extreme temperature conditions in the African desert. We show that the ants' conspicuous silvery appearance is created by a dense array of triangular hairs with two thermoregulatory effects. They enhance not only the reflectivity of the ant's body surface in the visible and near-infrared range of the spectrum, where solar radiation culminates, but also the emissivity of the ant in the mid-infrared. The latter effect enables the animals to efficiently dissipate heat back to the surroundings via blackbody radiation under full daylight conditions. This biological solution for a thermoregulatory problem may lead to the development of biomimetic coatings for passive radiative cooling of objects.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Brain Research Institute
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:13 Feb 2017 11:37
Last Modified:14 Feb 2018 11:32
Publisher:American Association for the Advancement of Science
ISSN:0036-8075
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aab3564
PubMed ID:26089358

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