PF Blog

Why Don't Antarctic Penguins Freeze? Their Finished Surface.

28. December 2015



Antarctic penguins are masters in adapting to their environment. Penguins dive through freezing cold water and yet they are able to move on land afterwards in extremely low temperatures of around -40°C without their feathers freezing.


Kruss Gmb from Germany reports that their cooperation partner, Prof. Pirouz Kavehpour from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering of the UCLA and his team, carried out research into this property of penguin plumage so essential for their survival. The findings were presented for the first time on November 22 at the 68th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics in Boston. The team examined the extremely hydrophobic feathers in a special microscopic process and with our Drop Shape Analyzer – DSA100 for contact angle measurement. 


The research group discovered that a particular hydrophobic oil from a special gland comes into contact with a nanostructured porous surface. The feathers textured and sealed in this way display an extremely high water contact angle of over 140 degrees. Round drops with a very small contact surface form on the feathers. This results in low heat transfer and makes water drip off quickly, so the water is no longer on the feathers when it freezes.


This topic has already awoken far-reaching interest outside of the sphere of university research. In addition to popular scientific media such the BBC and the Huffingtonpost have also published articles dedicated to the plumage of these amazing birds.

However, the properties of penguin feathers are not only interesting for animal lovers. The aerospace industry in particular has taken notice of the new possibilities of keeping surfaces clear of ice; a sector where freezing presents a high safety risk and until now has required great effort to prevent. The new findings could especially improve material development in aircraft construction. 


“It's a little ironic that a bird that doesn't fly could one day help an airplane fly more safely,” concludes Prof. Kavehpour.

Nanostructured Metal Coatings Let Light Through For Electronic Devices

23. December 2015

An array of nanopillars etched by thin layer of grate-patterned metal creates a nonreflective surface that could improve electronic device performance. Image Courtesy Of Daniel Wasserman​.


Light and electricity dance a complicated tango in devices like LEDs, solar cells and sensors. A new anti-reflection coating developed by engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, lets light through without hampering the flow of electricity, a step that could increase efficiency in such devices.

The coating is a specially engraved, nanostructured thin film that allows more light through than a flat surface, yet also provides electrical access to the underlying material - a crucial combination for optoelectronics, devices that convert electricity to light or vice versa. The researchers, led by U. of I. electrical and computer engineering professor Daniel Wasserman, published their findings in the journal Advanced Materials.

"The ability to improve both electrical and optical access to a material is an important step towards higher-efficiency optoelectronic devices," said Wasserman, a member of the Micro and Nano Technology Laboratory at Illinois.


To read more, please visit:


Hubbard-Hall's Chuck Kellogg Receives Industry Lifetime Achievement Award

18. December 2015

Chuck is the 5th person to receive the NACD Lifetime Achievement award in its 44-year history.



Hubbard-Hall Chairman/CFO Chuck Kellogg received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual meeting of the National Association of Chemical Distributors in November.


In presenting the award, Roger Harris, CEO of Producers Chemical, described Chuck as a mentor to others in the industry who has demonstrated, “not only a lifetime of giving, but also inspired others to reach lifetime goals.”


Kellogg was one of the founding members of NACD in 1971 when he and other CEOs recognized the need for the chemical distribution industry to adopt best practices and become overt stewards of the chemical distribution process. Kellogg has remained active and vocal in the association since its founding:


  • Chairman of NACD, 1982-1983
  • President of Northeast Region, 1974-1976
  • Treasurer (for life) Northeast Region, 1995 – present
  • Distributor of the Year – 1996



Chuck is a 5th generation family member of Hubbard-Hall and has had a 56 year career at the company, serving as Chairman/CEO since 1992. Prior to working at the business, he recalls boyhood visits to the retail store in downtown Waterbury, CT (the company was then called Apothecaries Hall) when he would hop up to the soda counter and ply free drinks from his grandfather.


Over his career, Chuck has helped transform the company from a local supplier of fertilizers and anodes to one of the most highly regarded distributors of industrial chemicals in New England and a global supplier of specialty products for surface finishing.


“Chuck’s dedication to our industry is demonstrated through his service within the NACD organization as well as his drive to be a mentor to up-and-coming leaders in our industry,” said Harris. “I’m honored to be able to call Chuck a dear friend, and I’m proud to present him with this distinguished award.”


Hubbard-Hall is an active member of NACD whose companies are leaders in health, safety, security, and environmental performance through participation in Responsible Distribution, a 3rd party verified management practice.


Riley Surface World Announces Baker Technology New USA partner

16. December 2015



Riley Surface World has announced that Baker Technology Associates will become the principle trading partner for its used equipment in North America.

Michael Riley, managing director of RSW and Neil Baker, president of BTA reached an agreement during the SUR/FIN 2015 exhibition in Chicago.

BTA markets its products throughout the USA and Canada. They are primarily used manual and automatic electroplating lines, automated wet processing systems and DC rectifiers.

The company works extensively in the automotive, aerospace and PCB industries and has the ability to re-configure process plants for new applications.

RSW also deals in used plating and coating process lines. In addition, it carries large stocks of ancillary equipment, including polishing, cleaning and shot blasting machines; ovens, furnaces and dust extraction systems.

Both companies view the new arrangement as having great synergy, as RSW has considerable market penetration throughout Europe, complementing BTA’s market dominance in North America.

‘We are thrilled to have a North American partner with more than 40 years of experience in the surface finishing industry," Riley says. "BTA has a detailed understanding of European manufactured metal finishing equipment and can actively deal with North American clients from within their shores and time zones.’

Lawrence Tech Students Share Designs Inspired by Axalta’s “Radiant Red”

14. December 2015


LTU student Peter Corey used Axalta’s inaugural North American Automotive Color of the Year, Radiant Red, as inspiration for this sketch of a classic cardinal and futuristic motorcycle. (Photo: Axalta)


Axalta Coating Systems released its latest "Color Block" blog post that features illustrations from the next generation of automotive designers who are inspired by Axalta’s inaugural North American Automotive Color of the Year, Radiant Red. The post can be viewed


To continue its year-long celebration of Radiant Red, Axalta reached out to Keith Nagara, Director of the renowned Transportation Design program at Lawrence Technological University (LTU) in Michigan, for perspectives from some of the nation’s top automotive design students. LTU’s program was established in 2007 at the request of some automotive industry manufacturers to help train and identify designers with a wide range of technical aptitudes. The Transportation Design program helps to educate and develop talent by giving students a thorough understanding of automotive technology and by providing a platform to utilize creativity and innovation.


Nagara solicited input from three of his top students and asked them to depict their Radiant Red inspirations. The students developed creative renditions of a concept motorcycle, futuristic vehicle interiors and a concept sports car, all of which can be viewed at the blog.


“The color ‘red’ evokes fond memories of the relation between color and vehicle segments,” he stated in the blog. “Red as a color is intense and energetic, like a flame or solar flare from the sun.”


“Axalta has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with LTU and Keith Nagara,” said Nancy Lockhart, Axalta Color Marketing Manager. “Now, Keith is sharing some exceptional student work that captures the inspiration Radiant Red can spark. We thank Keith for the effort and we will keep an eye on students Matt Scarchilli, Peter Corey, and Tyler Rusnak and the bright futures that are in front of them.”


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