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Archive: Oct 2017

  1. The Lotus Effect

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    ProPERLA exterior coatings have been designed to mimic the Lotus effect and help keep your property clean and dry.

     

    What is the Lotus effect?

    The Lotus effect refers to the self-cleaning and extreme water-repellency abilities of the Sacred Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) a semi-aquatic plant.

     

     

    When water comes into contact with the Lotus leaf, the water droplet forms a spherical bead and simply rolls off, leaving the surface dry. As the water beads roll off, they pick up contaminants such as solid particles, organism liquids and biological contaminants and remove them from the surface of the leaf. This process helps to keep the Lotus leaves clean and dry even in muddy and dirty ponds. The self-cleaning capabilities of the Lotus is the reason it has been considered a symbol of purity in Asian culture for over 2,000 years.

     

    What makes the Lotus leaf water repellent and self-cleaning?

    Scientific exploration of the surface micro/nanostructure and chemical composition of the Lotus leaves has been undertaken over many years in an attempt to understand the functions, structures and processes by which the Lotus is able to repel water and subsequently self-clean.

     

    Water Contact Angle

    Research has revealed that in order for a surface to be self-cleaning it must be super hydrophobic, with a very high static water contact angle greater than 160°, and a very low roll-off angle (the minimum inclination angle necessary for a droplet to roll off the surface.)

    How a water droplet interacts with a solid surface determines if it is categorised as super hydrophobic, hydrophobic or hydrophilic. The higher the contact angle the higher the hydrophobicity of a surface. The surface is known to be hydrophilic when the water contact angle is less than 90° (Figure 1a), hydrophobic when the water contact angle is greater than 90° (Figure 1b) and superhydrophobic when the water contact angle is larger than 150° (Figure 1c).

     

    Lotus Effect

    Figure 1. A schematic showing (a) hydrophilic surface with water contact angle less than 90°; (b) hydrophobic surface with water contact angle greater than 90° and (c) superhydrophobic surface with water contact angle larger than 150°. Latthe, Terashima, Nakata & Fujishima (2014)

     

    The Lotus leaf is considered super hydrophobic as it has a water contact angle higher than 160° and a roll-off angle lower than 5°.

     

    Lotus Leaf Surface Structure

    The surface morphology of the Lotus leaf also has an important role. Whilst the Lotus leaf might visually appear to have a smooth surface it is actually quite rough at the nanoscale. Scientific studies have discovered that Lotus leaves have nanostructures on the surface which are coated with hydrophobic epicuticular, low surface energy wax crystals approximately 1 mm in diameter. It is this double structure of the surface that is responsible for the super hydrophobic and self cleaning properties of the leaf.

     

    ProPERLA and the Lotus Effect

    Over the course of millions of years of evolution, nature has perfected the design of the Lotus leaf. Using advanced technology science is precisely mimicking the chemical components and surface micro/nanostructures of the Lotus leaf in order to achieve the same super hydrophobic and self-cleaning capabilities for real-life applications.

    ProPERLA uses the latest silicone resin based nanotechnology to create super hydrophobic and self-cleaning coatings for a range of substrates.

     

     

    Keep your property warm & dry

    Just like the Lotus leaf, surfaces coated in ProPERLA will stay dry. When it rains the water forms beads and simply rolls off preventing the associated problems caused by rain penetration and damp.  By reducing the water absorption, ProPERLA has even been found to lower the thermal conductivity on mineral masonry building materials (thermal conductivity was measured according to the principles of EN ISO 15148) By lowering the water absorption, ProPERLA improves insulation and reduces energy loss.

     

    Ensure your property is clean & attractive

    Mimicking the Lotus leaf’s self-cleaning abilities, ProPERLA helps to keep your property clean. When the water rolls off the treated surface it collects any particles of dirt or dust and washes them away.

    By keeping your property clean and dry you will also be discouraging the unsightly growth of moss, algae and lichens and will even prevent salt efflorescence.

     

    Allow your building to breathe

    Not only does ProPERLA help to keep your property dry and clean, it also allows the building to breathe. It does not prevent the ability of water and moisture to escape.

     

    ProPERLA Masonry Crème, ProPERLA Coloured Facade Coating and ProPERLA Water Repellent all share the same super hydrophobic and self-cleaning properties of the Lotus leaf, all you need to do is choose the right product for your needs. Our technical support team can advise you on the most suitable product for your requirements, we even offer training.

     

    Call 0161 763 7074 to find out how ProPERLA can benefit your property

     

     

    References

     

    Ensikat HJ, Ditsche-Kuru P, Neinhuis C, Barthlott W. Superhydrophobicity in perfection: the outstanding properties of the lotus leaf. Barthlott W, Koch K, eds. Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology. 2011;2:152-161. doi:10.3762/bjnano.2.19.

     

    Latthe, S.S.; Terashima, C.; Nakata, K.; Fujishima, A. Superhydrophobic Surfaces Developed by Mimicking Hierarchical Surface Morphology of Lotus Leaf. Molecules 2014;19, 4256-4283.

     

    Zhang, Mingqian & Feng, Shile & Wang, Lei & Zheng, Yongmei,  Lotus effect in wetting and self-cleaning. Biotribology. 2015;10.1016/j.biotri.2015.08.002.

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