lotus effect

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.

Multimedia Zoom Into a Nasturtium Leaf

In this interactive piece, visitors can zoom into the structures on the surface of a nasturtium leaf. Electron micrographs reveal the nanoscale structures that make water bead on the surface of the leaf. Zoom Into a Nasturtium Leaf can be used alone, or to accompany an exhibit or demonstration of the lotus effect, in which water beads and rolls off highly water-repellent 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: The size of each leaf is about 6-10 cm.

Biomimicry: From Nature to Nanotech

Visitors will engage in activities showing various natural phenomena that scientists and engineers have emulated to address human problems. Visitors view peacock feathers at different angles to see iridescence, apply drops of water to observe the color changes, and look at other examples of iridescence in nature, such as a blue Morpho butterfly, tropical beetle wings, and abalone shells. Visitors also explore the Lotus Effect by applying drops of water onto Lotusan paint and stain resistant fabrics, two technologies that mimic the Lotus effect.

Nano School Box

The NanoSchoolBox is a kit that provides instructions and background information for nanotechnology experiments or demonstrations. Experiments explore the lotus effect, titanium oxide, ferrofluids, colloids including gold, memory metal and reactivity.

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