Superhydrophobic And Superoleophobic Phenomena In Nature

Have you ever noticed the superhydrophobic and superoleophobic phenomena in nature? There are lots of creatures have superhydrophobic and superoleophobic properties, from plants to tiny small bugs. Study and reproduce the superhydrophobic and superoleophobic characters will benefit various potential applications.

All we know that lotus leaf is the best example for superhydrophobic and self-cleaning demonstration in nature. Studies found that many of the plants with water-repellent properties have three-dimensional wax crystals at nano level, which makes the water-surface contact angle over 150° (superhydrophobic).

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There are many land plants also have superhydrophobic properties. Pretty sure everyone can name several plants.

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In addition to plants, many insects also have super-hydrophobic properties. The best known insect is water strider (also called pond skaters). Combine the water tension and the nano hair structures on the long legs water striders can freely walk and jump on water surface. Here is a short video clip from wikipedia about how water strider walks on water.

Materials with superhydrophobic or superoleophobic properties or both are in extreme demand because various potential applications such as in anti-corrosion coatings in strong chemicals and water boats, anti-icing coatings on electrocity wires and building steps, roofs in cold area, liquid-repellent textiles for workers in special work factories, oil/water separation in fine chemical, food manufacturing, nano-particles assembly, micro-fluidic devices in scientific research, printing techniques, optical devices, high-sensitive sensors or batteries, etc. There are many more than you can imagine. 

We believer that studies on natural superhydrophobic phenomena will benefit and improve our life quality. The nanotechnology based super hydrophobic coating will save billions of dollars each year from industrial fields to common household applications, and save the earth too.