- Taking inspiration from the natural world, scientists have developed a material that repels liquids, ice and bacteria under a range of conditions.
- The source of inspiration is the carnivorous pitcher plant whose slippery inner surface causes insects to fall into the pitcher shaped flower where they are trapped and soon digested. The secret of the pitcher plant is a thin layer of water on the plant’s surface that, for example, does not permit the oil on insect’s feet to stick.
- Using a nanostructure and lubricating fluid researchers were able to replicate this phenomena, which may have application as an anti-graffiti surface or low-friction tube lining.
The value of plants is often related to the products (e.g. chemicals, foodstuffs) they produce. This work demonstrates the value plants provide for generating innovative mechanical and structural inspiration. The challenge for government is to protect biodiversity to enable researchers the time to observe, understand and develop these innovations.