lotus leaf

Zoom into a Lotus Leaf video

In this film "Zoom into a Lotus Leaf," see an up close look at the tiny nanostructures that give the leaf its unique behavior. The Lotus Leaf is a symbol of purity because it appears to be perpetually clean. We now know that its self-cleaning properties are due to its ability to repel water very effectively; it's superhydrophobic. It gets its superhydrophobicity from tiny nanostructures. We start with a normal digital camera and zoom in using increasingly powerful microscopes as we explore this phenomena.

Sand, Plants and Pants

Sand, Plants and Pants is a hands-on activity exploring how the application of nano-sized particles or substances can change a bigger material’s properties. Visitors investigate the hydrophobic properties of plants, nano-fabric pants and magic sand.

Lotus Leaf Effect

"Lotus Leaf Effect” is a cart demo that demonstrates how nature inspires nanotechnology by sharing how nanoscale features on a surface can influence how a material behaves at the macroscale. Visitors learn that lotus leaves (and many other plant leaves) are self cleaning and repel water, due to nanoscale features on the leaves. During the program, visitors compare how water interacts with regular lettuce and leaves that exhibit the lotus effect by dropping water onto the different types of leaves.

Scientific Image - Water Droplet on a Nasturtium Leaf

he Lotus Effect describes water droplets rolling off leaf surfaces, removing dirt and contaminants in the process. This phenomenon can also be seen in the more common nasturtium. Scanning electron microscope images show that nasturtium leaves are covered by waxy nanocrystal bundles. The uneven surface created by these tiny structures traps air between water and leaf, causing the water to roll off. Research on such nanoscale effects has inspired revolutionary new materials, including water- and stain-resistant fabrics.

• IMAGING TOOL: Optical microscope

Scientific Image - Nasturtium Leaf

The Lotus Effect describes water droplets rolling off leaf surfaces, removing dirt and contaminants in the process. This phenomenon can also be seen in the more common nasturtium. Scanning electron microscope images show that nasturtium leaves are covered by waxy nanocrystal bundles. The uneven surface created by these tiny structures traps air between water and leaf, causing the water to roll off. Research on such nanoscale effects has inspired revolutionary new materials, including water- and stain-resistant fabrics.

• SIZE: Each wax nanocrystal bundle is about 1-2 µm wide.

Scientific Image - Nasturtium Leaf

The Lotus Effect describes water droplets rolling off leaf surfaces, removing dirt and contaminants in the process. This phenomenon can also be seen in the more common nasturtium. Scanning electron microscope images show that nasturtium leaves are covered by waxy nanocrystal bundles. The uneven surface created by these tiny structures traps air between water and leaf, causing the water to roll off. Research on such nanoscale effects has inspired revolutionary new materials, including water- and stain-resistant fabrics.

Scientific Image - Nasturtium Leaf

The Lotus Effect describes water droplets rolling off leaf surfaces, removing dirt and contaminants in the process. This phenomenon can also be seen in the more common nasturtium. Scanning electron microscope images show that nasturtium leaves are covered by waxy nanocrystal bundles. The uneven surface created by these tiny structures traps air between water and leaf, causing the water to roll off. Research on such nanoscale effects has inspired revolutionary new materials, including water- and stain-resistant fabrics.

Experiment with Superhydrophobic Materials

"Experiment with Superhydrophobic Materials" is a hands-on activity that tests highly water repellent materials. In this experiment the degree of hydrophobicity is measured and explained. The tested materials are highly water repellent thanks to their surface nano-engineering. The materials have been developed using nature as an inspiration, since some plant leaves have exceptional properties due to their surface composition. The activity includes an educator guide, PowerPoint, laboratory worksheet and background information.

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