If you're having trouble viewing this email, you may see it online.
|What Nature Can Teaches Us
In nature, a gamut of materials,
structures, and engineering marvels can be found. Scientists turn to
nature for answers to questions and solutions to problems. If we
narrow our focus to surface characteristics, we find a number of
examples in nature that are worth studying and emulating. Today we
will focus on a half dozen such examples:
1. Perhaps the most famous natural
surface for surface scientists is the Lotus leaf. Due to a
hierarchal surface structure made up of both microscopic and
nanoscopic topologies, the lotus leaf exhibits ultrahydrophobic
self-cleaning properties. This surface is the gold standard for
ultrahydrophobicity. Anyone who can create a manmade surface that is
comparable with the lotus leaf would be considered a genius. So far,
some have come close, but no one can best the lotus leaf. Commercial
products such as Lotusan paint are based on the Lotus Effect.1
3. Geckos can defy gravity by walking on walls and ceilings. The Van der Waals force can explain the adhesive quality of gecko feet. The ubiquitous Post-it note product attempts to mimic this behavior.3
4. The water strider is able to walk on water with the help of its hydrophobic legs. In addition, thousands of hydrofuge hairs on its body keep it from staying underwater.4
5. The Namid desert beetle features both hydrophobic and hydrophilic surfaces. This allows it to collect water from the air and the roll it down its back and into its little mouth. Cloud-catching nets used in the Atacama desert copy the design of the Namid beetle to harvest water in one of the driest deserts in the world.5
6. Moth eyes have, in addition to anti-reflective properties, non-wetting properties. Researchers are attempting to mimic the the structure in order to develop more efficient solar panels and other commercial products.6
Astute surface scientists are always looking for models of good structure which can be emulated for specific applications. Inevitably the best of these models are found in nature and not surprisingly, the bioinspired manmade structures are a grade lower than the archtypes.
1 See our
April 2008 Newsletter.
|Wettability Conference 2020
|On 11 and 12-Jun-2020, the First International Conference on Wettability Science and Associated Technologies will convene in Coventry UK. For more details on submitting an abstract or attending the conference, please contact Professor Jonathan Lawrence or Dr. David G Waugh at this address firstname.lastname@example.org.