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Antisoiling Performance of Lotus Leaf and Other Leaves after Prolonged Outdoor Exposure

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posted on 11.11.2020, 19:43 authored by Chenxi Zhu, Xinyu Yu, Jian Lv, Jing Zhang, Jintao Yang, Na Hao, Jie Feng
Recently, the antisoiling performances of superhydrophobic (SH) surfaces have received much attention due to their potential applications in self-cleaning photovoltaic glass and other surfaces without the need to be rinsed with water. In this work, we systematically compared the antisoiling performances of lotus leaf and other plant leaves by first drying them in the shade and then placing them outdoors in a slight breeze for 1–2 months. The results show that after being dried in the shade, the lotus leaf and the canna leaf retain their SH properties, comparable with their fresh states. The firmiana leaf is still hydrophilic. However, when the leaves are exposed to rain, no rain drops adhere to the surface of the lotus leaf but many droplets adhere to the canna leaf. Furthermore, after being incubated outdoors in the absence of rain for 1 month, the lotus leaf retained its SH properties, the canna leaf was no longer SH, and the firmiana leaf became more hydrophilic. SEM imaging with EDS and elemental mapping all confirmed that after outdoor exposure for 1–2 months, only a small amount of dust was found on the lotus leaf but a significant amount of dust was present on the canna leaf, with even more on the firmiana leaf. These results confirm that the lotus leaf has excellent antisoiling performance. The low interactions between the lotus leaf surface and the dust particles are most likely responsible for this unique property. On the contrary, the canna leaf, and especially the firmiana leaf, do not possess this property because neither their surface microstructures nor their surface free energies are favorable to reduce interactions between the leaf surface and dust particles. This study will be helpful in designing and preparing a surface with antisoiling performance.