The role of micro/nano channel structuring in repelling water on cuticle arrays of the lacewing

Watson, Gregory Shaun, Cribb, Bronwen W., and Watson, Jolanta Anna (2010) The role of micro/nano channel structuring in repelling water on cuticle arrays of the lacewing. Journal of Structural Biology, 171 (1). pp. 44-51.

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Non-wetting surfaces help in the survival of terrestrial and semi-aquatic insects. Some insects encounter wetting by rain, through contact with water collected on foliage, or in ponds, rivers or streams. There is an evolutionary pay-off for such insects to adopt hydrophobic structuring especially on regions that contact water, such as legs or large surface areas such as wings. Here we investigate lacewings which are good candidates for getting trapped to water because of a large wing surface area-to-body mass ratio. The lacewing utilises a variety of structures/mechanisms to contend with water contact. The first level involves small hairs (macrotrichia) that project from veins on the wings and collectively hold up droplets of water above the wing surface. This defence against wetting is aided by longitudinal ridges and troughs along the hair shaft. We show, by coating single hairs with a hydrophobic polymer (similar in hydrophobicity to insect cuticle), that the channels significantly contribute to repel water droplets. Beneath the array of hairs lies a dense netting on the cuticle wing surface which reduces contact with smaller droplets. The study has implications for both insect biology and biomimetic surfaces such as light weight superhydrophobic materials.

Item ID: 15340
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1095-8657
Keywords: lacewing; atomic force microscopy; micro/nano structures; insect; wetting; biomimetic; superhydrophobic
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2011 06:59
FoR Codes: 02 PHYSICAL SCIENCES > 0299 Other Physical Sciences > 029901 Biological Physics @ 80%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0699 Other Biological Sciences > 069999 Biological Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 10%
03 CHEMICAL SCIENCES > 0303 Macromolecular and Materials Chemistry > 030304 Physical Chemistry of Materials @ 10%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 40%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970103 Expanding Knowledge in the Chemical Sciences @ 30%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970102 Expanding Knowledge in the Physical Sciences @ 30%
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