Self-propulsion of dew drops on lotus leaves: a potential mechanism for self cleaning

Watson, Gregory S., Gellender, Marty, and Watson, Jolanta A. (2014) Self-propulsion of dew drops on lotus leaves: a potential mechanism for self cleaning. Biofouling, 30 (4). pp. 427-434.

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Abstract

This study shows that condensation on the hierarchically structured lotus leaf can facilitate self-propulsion of water droplets off the surface. Droplets on leaves inclined at high angles can be completely removed from the surface by self-propulsion with the assistance of gravity. Due to the small size of mobile droplets, light breezes may also fully remove the propelled droplets, which are typically projected beyond the boundary layer of the leaf cuticle. Moreover the self-propelled droplets/condensate were able to remove contaminants (eg silica particles) from the leaf surface. The biological significance of this process may be associated with maintaining a healthy cuticle surface when the action of rain to clean the surface via the lotus effect is not possible (due to no precipitation). Indeed, the native lotus plants in this study were located in a region with extended time periods (several months) without rain. Thus, dew formation on the leaf may provide an alternative self-cleaning mechanism during times of drought and optimise the functional efficiency of the leaf surface as well as protecting the surface from long term exposure to pathogens such as bacteria and fungi.

Item ID: 33161
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1029-2454
Keywords: superhydrophobic, water droplet, self-cleaning, lotus leaf, self-propelled, dew
Date Deposited: 14 May 2014 09:42
FoR Codes: 02 PHYSICAL SCIENCES > 0299 Other Physical Sciences > 029901 Biological Physics @ 30%
10 TECHNOLOGY > 1007 Nanotechnology > 100701 Environmental Nanotechnology @ 30%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0607 Plant Biology > 060705 Plant Physiology @ 40%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970102 Expanding Knowledge in the Physical Sciences @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 50%
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