The Power of Surface Area

Coral is a vital part of the underwater ecosystem but the temperature of the sea has been affecting coral, killing (an estimated) 25% of it, bleaching large swaths of it, and making it difficult for new natural coral to grow. Humans have been working on ways to spur on new growth of coral to replace what has already died. This New York Times article tells the story of how some scientists believe they have found a way to dramatically increase the growth rate of new coral. The “eureka moment” happened when one scientist realized that the tiny spores, or polyps, that remained at the bottom of his tank when he broke off a larger piece, not only didn't die, but grew rapidly. Scientists have realized that the small pieces grow quickly because, they theorize, the living coral does not want something else to infringe on its territory, so it grows quickly to recover open ground.

This BBC article explains that new coral can regrow quickly when it has the luxury of the skeleton of dead, or bleached, coral to structure its growth. These ideas taken together seem to point to the conclusion that surface area seems vital to coral's continued growth, especially for something that depends on photosynthesis.

Surface area is important when contact is necessary. Many important concepts (other than just photosynthesis) depend on surface area. One very important one is corrosion and degradation. Whether corrosion is found on jewelry or aerospace parts it depends on interaction with air molecules on the parts surface.  More importantly Intercept Technology, which can prevent corrosion, depends on surface area. Copper reacts with and neutralizes atmospheric pollutants. But the secret of the effectiveness of Intercept Technology is the dramatically increased surface area of the available Copper material that is reacted into our Intercept plastic. The copper particles in Intercept have been modified to have an active surface area approximately 256 times larger than a standard piece of Copper.  This larger surface area makes more reactions (between copper and corrosion causing gasses) possible and is why Intercept Technology is so effective at not only preventing corrosion, but also helping to stop things such as mold and mildew, but we will leave that discussion for another day.

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