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In his backyard, Bidyut Das captured how water beads up and rolls off the leaves of the taro plant (Colocasia esculenta). Water droplets don’t adhere to the leaves of this plant for two reasons. First, the leaves cover themselves in a waxy layer, mostly made up of 1-octacosanol, which repels water. Also, if you take a closer look at a taro leaf, you’ll see that the wax forms small raised areas called papillae (bottom, dots). Like microsize pillars, the papillae prop up the water droplets and prevent them from sticking to the leaf below. Material scientists have mimicked these structures—which are found on lotus leaves and several other plants—to make synthetic superhydrophobic surfaces.
Submitted by Bidyut Das (droplets). Credit: Namazu-tron/Wikimedia Commons (micrograph)
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