How To Walk On Water – Super-Hydrophobia Leads The Way

Scientists, amazed by animals like the Water Strider (shown below), which can walk on water, now have the key to this small insect’s success. The animals have super-hydrophobic legs. Hydrophobic, meaning, “water-fearing”, basically means there is a strong repulsion between the water and the hydrophobic surface.

Water Strider Floats on the Water

Water Strider Floats on the Water

While normally, the water strider might sink into the water and drown, super-hydrophobic legs allow them to support over 15 times their body weight on the water! Their legs consist of wax spread over super-fine hairs, making water droplets flee for their lives.

Seen below is an example of a water droplet on a super-hydrophobic surface.

Seen here is a drop of water on a hydrophobic surface. Image: Xiao Cheng Zeng

Seen here is a drop of water on a hydrophobic surface. Image: Xiao Cheng Zeng

The problem was how to recreate the super-hydrophobic materials we see in nature. After thousands of experiments, a group of scientists think they’ve solved the problem. They goal now, is to make use of this recent discovery in our modern world. The belief is that super-hydrophobic surfaces could be applied in fabrics, and other surfaces to make them self-cleaning.

Or, perhaps, a day where torrents of tiny robots with super-hydrophobic legs paddle to take over the world.

One response to “How To Walk On Water – Super-Hydrophobia Leads The Way”

  1. Insect Spy Cyborg Robots are Controlled Remotely, Radioactive Powered | Robotics Blog

    […] this technology could be applied to other typed of insect robots, like this water strider. The primary objective of the Insect Cyborg Sentinels Project is to develop cybernetic insects for […]

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