Duke University researchers Jonathan Boreyko, left, and Chuan-Hua Chen study the properties of lotus leaves (Photo: Duke University)
The ancient lotus leaf has natural properties that scientists believe could prove beneficial in today's modern world. Already Gizmag has featured articles about the lotus leaf surface, including a self-cleaning cup and a transparent coating for space suits. Recently, though, in an effort to improve the efficiency of modern engineering systems, such as power plants and some electronic equipment that must be cooled by removing heat through water evaporation and condensation, engineers at Duke University have been studying the lotus leaf. Using an ultra high-speed camera, a powerful microscope and an audio speaker, scientists were able to observe water as it condensed on the leaf's surface, and more importantly, how the water condensate disappeared.