TONY CAMACHO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY TONY CAMACHO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Lotus (Nelumbo sp.) leaf. Close-up of water on the leaf of a lotus (Nelumbo sp.) plant, showing its water-repellent properties. The microstructures on the leaf's upperside, along with a waxy coating, help to repel water droplets better than any other material in nature. This helps the leaves to stay clean and stops fungi and other organisms from settling on them. This 'lotus effect' is being studied so that similar mechanisms can be implemented to produce 'self-cleaning' materials.
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