Self-Cleaning Lotus Leaves

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Self-cleaning lotus leaves inspire chemists, according to a report in Nature Science Update, 20 November 2002. Ten years ago University of Bonn botanist, Wilhelm Barthlott discovered that lotus leaves have very bumpy surfaces which cause water droplets to roll off them rather than slide, as they would do if they landed on a smooth surface. Rolling water droplets gather dirt as they move over surfaces, whereas sliding droplets do not, so the lotus leaf surface is effectively self-cleaning. German chemists are now developing a surface coating with similar properties that could waterproof leather and make it simple to clean many surfaces including stone, textiles and even paper. So far they have developed a spray-on coating that repels water 20 times better than a smooth wax surface but is only half as good as the lotus leaf surface. Wilhelm Barthlott has patented the self-cleaning idea under the trademark Lotus Effect.

Editorial Comment: The fact that this idea could be patented is official recognition that it requires intelligent design to make the self-cleaning surface work. In spite of this, biologists insist on teaching that the lotus plant with its superior self-cleaning surface evolved by chance. (Ref. lotus, design, patent)

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