Basic Science

Lotus Effect : Why does the lotus leaf repel water?

Why does the lotus leaf repel water?

Some plants leave just can’t get dirty or wet and lotus leaves are one of them. Lotus plants have superhydrophobic surfaces. Water drops that fall on lotus roll off easily due to which it always keeps itself clean and this superhydrophobic effect or lotus effect which makes lotus leaves self-cleaning plants. This leaves not only remains dry but the droplets when rollback cleans the dirt too. Water can dance on lotus leaves because of rough texture and this rough texture is because of superhydrophobic effect.

Have you ever seen lotus and its leaves in the pond? If yes, then you must have noticed that water on lotus leaves floats not spreads like other natural plants leaves do. Ever tried to find the reason behind?

Well, here we are to tell you the basic details about this whole phenomenon.

Let’s begin-

  1. How are lotus leaves able to clean its leaf by itself?
  2. Why are lotus leaves waterproof? How can water dance on lotus leaves?
  3. Are lotus leaves special means is it different from others?

We will be discussing  these questions below. So let’s start with the very first question here.

Lotus Effect : How are lotus leaves able to clean its leaf by itself?

Look at its leaves, lotus leaves are so round and large. It looks like other normal leaves so what so special that they can clean themselves? Lotus leaves don’t get them wet or dirty because water keeps floating only not soaking. You can splash water as much as you want but water easily gets removed by rolling off.

You know lotus plants have superhydrophobic surfaces.

What is superhydrophobic surface?

Let me tell you superhydrophobic surface means very difficult to wet or dirt the object due to water repellent surface. This is also called lotus effect because it reflects its perfect example where lotus leaves just rolls off the water easily and its leaves never get wet or dirty only 2% water reaches its surface in real. The superhydrophobic surface is made of nanoscale hairs (extremely small or microscopic or tiny) surface layer that repels water. Water droplets or anything which floats like water, when reaches leaves surface fully bounces back like a ball or pancake, but the surface don’t get wet.

Image Source: Wikipedia.org
Image Source: IIT Madras

Lotus leaves are able to keep itself clean every time because of superhydrophobic effect. Water droplets just roll off easily. These leaves not only remains dry but the droplets when roll back clean the dirt also. This makes lotus leaves self-cleaning plants. That’s why it’s called as lotus effect too because it has self-cleaning properties. Superhydrophobicity is also called as lotus effect.

Why is lotus leaves waterproof? How can water dance on lotus leaves?

Lotus leaves are waterproof and dirt proof too. As I told you the reason behind this is superhydrophobic surface nature of its leaves. Its leaves are water repellent because of the rough textures which trap air to provide protection against water. That rough texture is a part of the superhydrophobic surface.

Are lotus leaves are different from others?

Of course, have you not seen when you give water to plants they just do not react like water on lotus reacts? It means many of them don’t have this water-repellent technique or superhydrophobic surfaces. They absorb the water and use it, water gets to soak in it does not bounce back.

These above 3 questions and answers give a clear answer to this main questionWhy Water drop float on lotus leaf but on other plants leaf it spreads? Existence of superhydrophic surface or lotus effect on the lotus leaf is the reason why water floats on its leaves and not on others because other plants leaves do not hold this superhydrophic surface as lotus leaves do. And if any plant leaves is acting like lotus leaves then that leaf also hold this lotus effect property.

Activity to do

You can do one activity by yourself. Ask your parents to buy you a lotus along with leaves or only lotus leaves. Now, a jug full of water slowly pours the water down on the leaf. What did you get to see? This superhydrophobic effect you can see by yourself. If you want to test further then you can pour one full spoon of honey on its leaf. It will take time but soon will be removed like water did.

It’s great that something so magical can happen. But behind this lotus leaves concept there was the superhydrophobic thing or you can call lotus effect. We called that magic but deep down it was all its properties, science.

Other than these we have more interesting questions for you like-

Why are lotus flowers so special?

Do you know that lotus flowers are ancient ones?  Lotus flower grows in muddy water but with perfect beauty not a spot of dirt can be found on its flower or leaf. Lotus completely symbolizes the purity of mind and heart.

Life lesson can be taught from a lotus flower. What is it?

Lotus flower can only grow itself in muddy water and shines with pure beauty, have fragile but lovely petals with clean leaves in the same way in our lives we should make our self-strong enough to tackle all the obstacles in order to achieve success and keep ourselves strong in difficult situations holding purity in mind and heart.

Some amazing facts about lotus –

  • Lotus is national flower of India
  • Its scientific name is different – Nelumbo Nucifera’.
  • Lotus symbolizes purity of heart and mind
  • Lotus is national flower of Vietnam too
  • Lotus flower is regarded as auspicious in Egypt because it is treated as the symbol of Sun God.

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Swati Sarraf

Hi, this is Swati Sarraf. My hobbies are Reading novels, listening to music and innovative discussions. I love to dedicate my time to things I love and I believe you can't force things for long you don't love.I am from Varanasi, studied B.com(hons) from B.H.U.

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