Research

How Patterns Repel Water

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Superhydrophobic surfaces repel water. Both naturally occurring and manmade materials with this property share a common feature: micro- or nanoscale structures on their surface. Lotus and lily leaves are coated with tiny hairs, and synthetic coatings or micro-manufactured surfaces like the one in the video above can be made in the lab. This nanoscale roughness traps air between the surface and the water, preventing adhesion to the surface and enabling the water-repelling behavior we observe at the human scale. Although effective, these nanoscale structures are also extremely delicate, which makes widespread application of superhydrophobic coatings and textures difficult. (Video credit: G. Azimi et al.)

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