Mechanical and superhydrophobic stabilities of two-scale surfacial structure of lotus leaves

Autores: Yang Yu|Zhi-Hua Zhao|Quan-Shui Zheng
Fuente: Langmuir
en prensa

To understand why lotus leaf surfaces have a two-scale structure, we explore in this paper two stability mechanisms. One is the stability of the Cassie-Baxter wetting mode that generates the superhydrophobicity. A recent quantitative study (Zheng et al., Langmuir 2005, 21, 12207) showed that the larger the slenderness ratio of the surface structures was, the more stable the Cassie-Baxter wetting mode would be. On the other hand, it is well-known that more slender surface structures can only sustain lower critical water pressures for structure buckling, or Euler instability, while in the natural environments, the water pressure impacting on the lotus surface can reach a fairly high value (105 Pa in a heavy rain). Our analysis reveals that the two-scale structure of the lotus leaf surfaces is necessary for keeping both the structure and the superhydrophobicity stable. Furthermore, we find that the water-air interfacial tension makes the slender surface structure more instable and the two-scale structure a necessity.

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