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How Butterfly Wings Can Inspire New High-Tech Surfaces

A South American butterfly flapped its wings and caused a flurry of nanotechnology research to happen in Ohio. Researchers at Ohio State University have taken a new look at butterfly wings and rice leaves and learned things about their microscopic texture that could improve a variety of products. For example, the researchers were able to clean up to 85 percent of dust off a coated plastic surface that mimicked the texture of a butterfly wing, compared to only 70 percent off a flat surface. In a recent issue of the journal Soft Matter, the engineers report that the textures enhance fluid flow and prevent surfaces from getting dirty – characteristics that could be mimicked in high-tech surfaces for aircraft and watercraft, pipelines, and medical equipment.

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