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ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2014 May 28;6(10):7009-13. doi: 10.1021/am5015343. Epub 2014 May 13.

Beauty of lotus is more than skin deep: highly buoyant superhydrophobic films.

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Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Pennsylvania , Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, United States.


We develop highly buoyant superhydrophobic films that mimic the three-dimensional structure of lotus leaves. The high buoyancy of these structure stems from mechanically robust bubbles that significantly reduce the density of the superhydrophobic films. These highly buoyant superhydrophobic films stay afloat on water surface while carrying a load that is more than 200 times their own weight. In addition to imparting high buoyancy, the incorporation of robust hydrophilic bubbles enables the formation of free-standing structures that mimic the water-collection properties of Namib Desert beetle. We believe the incorporation of robust bubbles is a general method that opens up numerous possibilities in imparting high buoyancy to different structures that needs to stay afloat on water surfaces and can potentially be used for the fabrication of lightweight materials. (Image on the upper left reproduced with permission from Yong, J.; Yang, Q.; Chen, F.; Zhang, D.; Du, G.; Si, J.; Yun, F.; Hou, X. A Bioinspired Planar Superhydrophobic Microboat. J. Micromech. Microeng. 2014, 24, 035006).

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