Chemists reproduce rose ‘petal effect’

April 25th, 2008 - 5:22 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, April 25(IANS) The lotus is nature’s “slip n’ slide,” on which water beads skate along each petal’s surface like liquid metal. Chemists have now found the physical basis for the rose’s ability to grip water droplets in place, even when the flower is upside down. This newly described “petal effect” could lead to unique new adhesive materials, coatings and fabrics.

The study of biological microstructures has been a lively area of research, particularly in the design of bio-mimetic materials. But before the petal effect could be replicated in synthetic materials, an in-depth understanding of the rose’s surface was needed.

Lin Feng and colleagues in China provide the first description of the micro-scale surface of roses, composed of arrays of tiny, fleshy projections called micro-papillae.

The micro-papillae form a seal with water droplets, allowing them to cling to the surface of the rose petal. Using these new insights, Feng was able to create a synthetic rose petal surface with same properties.

“The simple duplication of petal surface provides us not only a theoretical explanation of the phenomenon but also an inspiration for the preparation of bio-mimetic polymer films, which should be of great biological and technological importance,” says Feng.

The article is scheduled for publication in Langmuir.

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