Two examples of myriad ways that nature has devised surfaces that are ultra-water repellent are lotuses that can clean themselves and insects that are able to walk on the surface of ponds. Scientists have devised their versions of what are commonly known as superhydrophic surfaces. These are made up out of nanoscale spikes, that are able to repel droplets landing on top, and the interesting thing is that they can even cause tony droplets to leap off the surface. However, unfortunately this approach doesn’t necessarily always work.
For example, if the water vapor somehow gets in between spikes after it condenses, it appears that it can hold the droplets down. In a new study that was recently conducted, scientists have crafted a 3D network of vertically aligned copper nanowired. All the sides of these wired were coated with water repellent material and the networks were tightly packed, that results with preventing water from getting between the wires. At the end – the water droplets are leaping off the surface just a moment after they start to condense from water vapor.
While this is happening, jumping droplets are able to take heat that is on the surface with them. The scientists have found that the copper nanowire surface is removing twice as much heat in comparison with the previous best material. These kinds of surfaces can maybe improve everything from water desalination to cooling electronics.