Removal mechanisms of dew via self-propulsion off the gecko skin

Watson, Gregory S., Schwarzkopf, Lin, Cribb, Bronwen W., Myhra, Sverre, Gellender, Marty, and Watson, Jolanta A. (2015) Removal mechanisms of dew via self-propulsion off the gecko skin. Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 12 (105). 20141396. pp. 1-11.

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Abstract

Condensation resulting in the formation of water films or droplets is an unavoidable process on the cuticle or skin of many organisms. This process generally occurs under humid conditions when the temperature drops below the dew point. In this study, we have investigated dew conditions on the skin of the gecko Lucasium steindachneri. When condensation occurs, we show that small dew drops, as opposed to a thin film, form on the lizard's scales. As the droplets grow in size and merge, they can undergo self-propulsion off the skin and in the process can be carried away a sufficient distance to freely engage with external forces. We show that factors such as gravity, wind and fog provide mechanisms to remove these small droplets off the gecko skin surface. The formation of small droplets and subsequent removal from the skin may aid in reducing microbial contact (e.g. bacteria, fungi) and limit conducive growth conditions under humid environments. Aswell as providing an inhospitable microclimate for microorganisms, the formation and removal of small droplets may also potentially aid in other areas such as reduction and cleaning of some surface contaminants consisting of single or multiple aggregates of particles.

Item ID: 41637
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1742-5662
Keywords: lizard, gecko, condensation, nanostructures, dew, contaminants
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2015 18:40
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0601 Biochemistry and Cell Biology > 060112 Structural Biology (incl Macromolecular Modelling) @ 80%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0601 Biochemistry and Cell Biology > 060109 Proteomics and Intermolecular Interactions (excl Medical Proteomics) @ 20%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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