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Discovery

To Combat Biological Build-up, Engineers Look to Nature for Inspiration

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Ohio State engineers Bharat Bhushan (left) and Gregory Bixler (right).

The giant blue morpho butterfly (foreground) is among natural objects that inspire Ohio State engineers Bharat Bhushan (left) and Gregory Bixler (right).

Credit: Jo McCulty, courtesy The Ohio State University


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Illustration showing detaileed butterfly wings with shingle-like scales and microgrooves.

Butterfly wings are characterized by shingle-like scales (above), which keep water from pooling, and microgrooves (below), which repel water and reduce surface adhesion. These features help keep the surface free of debris and contaminants.

Credit: Scanning electron microscope image (top) and optical profiler rendering (bottom), courtesy Bharat Bhushan and Greg Bixler, The Ohio State University


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Detail of rice leaves showing waxy bumps and grooves.

Rice leaves are characterized by waxy bumps (above), which repel water and prevent contaminants from adhering to a surface, as well as grooves (below) that keep water from pooling on a surface. Incorporating these features into man-made products could help engineers tackle unwanted biological build-up in a wide variety of industries.

Credit: Scanning electron microscope image (top) and optical profiler rendering (bottom) courtesy of Bharat Bhushan and Greg Bixler, The Ohio State University


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