Waterproof animals that inspire

Nature is an outstanding thing. It continues to inspire us in technological developments, design and other advancements.

 The Box-Patterned Gecko has skin so waterproof that it propels water droplets like nothing quite else seen in nature, bouncing off their skin in a delightfully unique manner.  This apparently occurs from a change in surface energy’ when the water condensation forms into large enough droplets that it literally bounces off. If the structure can be replicated, there is a lot of potential in textile design. Their skin, remarkably is also self-cleaning resisting dirt and bacteria, which could inspire medical or scientific uses.

This amazing creature from southern Australia has thousands of minuscule hairs on its skin known as spinule, which is like a tiny bed of nails. The water lands and rests on the top of the hairs, meaning that the water cannot flatten out and spread across the skin.

This waterproof quality known as being ‘superhydrophobic’ is found elsewhere in nature, such as the lotus leaf, where water simply rolls off the surface. The Gerridae (known as Water Striders) are so incredible that they can walk on water like our gecko friends. They also have micro-hairs that cover their skin with more than 'one thousand microhairs per mm' allowing the Water Strider to repel water and remain as lightweight as possible.

The Gerridae's unique ability to walk on water is due to the high surface tension of the water, their highly adapted legs and their ability to distribute their weight over a large surface area.

Today, hydrophobic sprays and coatings exist that can be used on textiles and materials such as the Oakley lens cleaner, which 'not only cleans lenses but also repels dirt, water and oils'.

Professor Chunlei Guo has developed a technique that uses lasers to render materials hydrophobic, illustrated in this image of a water droplet bouncing off a treated sample. Photo by J. Adam Fenster / University of Rochester

Photo by J. Adam Fenster / University of Rochester

Professor Chunlei Guo and his team at the University of Rochester have even developed water repellent metals without the need for a coating, using lasers that create microscopic detailing on the surface that give the metal new properties, truly inspired by the Box-Patterned Gecko and the Water Strider alike.

It is truly amazing the abundance of inspiration that is out there, and we encourage everyone to go out and find it! WE ARE!


1 comment

  • 30l Dry bag:- Much better quality than the one it has replaced.
    ( Built to last ) You can have confidence it going to keep things safe and dry.. Going to buy a 20l as a day back pack for when Walking.


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