And when innovation includes amazeballs science, like making a new water resistant material by replicating the way that butterfly wings keep the insects from getting bogged down by water, well, that’s just awesome.
Scientists may have just created the most water-resistant artificial material in the world.
Many of those who study hydrophobic materials — water-repellant surfaces in both nature and laboratories — had found themselves at an impasse with a theoretical limit on the amount of time it takes for water to rebound from a surface. However, a team of researchers have achieved a breakthrough: They found a way to reduce a water droplet’s contact time with a surface by 40 percent or more.
While conducting the research, the team found a number of surfaces could replicate the uneven breakup of droplets, as long as the ridges were of the correct scale.
Some butterfly wings, for instance, replicate the effect, allowing the creatures to avoid water clogging down their aerodynamic capabilities and effectively improving their chances of survival. Veins in wings act as the water-breaking ridges for the butterflies. Likewise, the leaves of plants in the nasturtium genus have veins on top of their leaves, which break up drops.
There are a number of very cool uses for this, according to researchers. The ridges could be applied to fabric, for example, creating a safer coating for waterproof clothing. They could also be used on turbine blades in electric power plants in order to keep the dry blades more efficient and lower rates of corrosion. Researchers say that the technology could be applicable to anything that involves dynamic interactions of liquids onto solids — such as wind turbines or–wait for it…FLYING ROBOTS.
Any story that can take innovation from butterfly wings to flying robots deserves space on this blog.