Influence of Weather Conditions on the Surface Morphology and Wetting Behaviour of Superhydrophobic Quaking Aspen Leaves


The effects of different environmental conditions on the wetting properties and surface morphology of surperhydrophobic quaking aspen leaves harvested during the 2011 growth season are examined. During this particular season quaking aspen leaves were not able to retain their superhydrophobic properties and associated surface structure features as they have usually been able to do in other years. Representative scanning electron microscopy images and wetting property measurements of quaking aspen leaf surfaces harvested throughout this season are presented and discussed with the objective of linking weather induced environmental stresses that occurred in 2011 to the sudden and unusual reduction in non-wetting properties and drastic changes in leaf surface structure. Erosion and regeneration rates of leaf wax crystals and the impact that environmental factors can have on these are considered and used to explain the occurrence of these unexpected changes.

Share and Cite:

Victor, J. and Erb, U. (2013) Influence of Weather Conditions on the Surface Morphology and Wetting Behaviour of Superhydrophobic Quaking Aspen Leaves. American Journal of Plant Sciences, 4, 61-68. doi: 10.4236/ajps.2013.45A010.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] W. Barthlott and C. Neinhuis, “Purity of the Sacred Lotus Leaf, of Escape from Contamination in Biological Surfaces,” Planta, Vol. 202, No. 1, 1997, pp. 1-8. doi:10.1007/s004250050096
[2] B. Bhushan and Y. C. Jung, “Micro- and Nanoscale Characterization of Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Leaf Surfaces,” Nanotechnology, Vol. 17, No. 11, 2006, pp. 2758- 2772. doi:10.1088/0957-4484/17/11/008
[3] Y. T. Cheng, D. E. Rodak, C. A. Wong and C. A. Hayden, “Effects of Micro- and Nano-Structures on the Self-Cleaning Behaviour of Lotus Leaves,” Nanotechnology, Vol. 17, No. 5, 2006, pp. 1359-1362. doi:10.1088/0957-4484/17/5/032
[4] K. Koch, B. Bhushan and W. Barthlott, “Diversity of Structure, Morphology and Wetting of Plant Surfaces,” Soft Matter, Vol. 4, No. 10, 2008, pp. 1943-1963. doi:10.1039/b804854a
[5] C. Neinhuis and W. Barthlott, “Characterization and Distribution of Water-Repellent, Self-Cleaning Plant Surfaces,” Annals of Botany, Vol. 79, No. 6, 1997, pp. 667- 677. doi:10.1006/anbo.1997.0400
[6] Y. T. Cheng and D. E. Rodak, “Is the Lotus Leaf Superhydrophobic?” Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 86, No. 14, 2005, Article ID: 144101. doi:10.1063/1.1895487
[7] K. Koch, B. Bhushan and W. Barthlott, “Multifunctional Surface Structures of Plants: An Inspiration for Biomimetics,” Progress in Materials Science, Vol. 54, No. 2, 2009, pp. 137-178. doi:10.1016/j.pmatsci.2008.07.003
[8] J. J. Victor and U. Erb, “Superhydrophobic Structures on the Basis of Aspen Leaf Design,” International Journal of Micro-Nano Scale Transport, Vol. 1, No. 4, 2010, pp. 323-334. doi:10.1260/1759-3093.1.4.323
[9] Z. Burton and B. Bhushan, “Hydrophobicity, Adhesion, and Friction Properties of Nanopatterned Polymers and Scale Dependence for Micro- and Nano-Electromechanical Systems,” Nano Letters, Vol. 5, No. 8, 2005, pp. 1607-1613. doi:10.1021/nl050861b
[10] M. Nosonovsky and B. Bhushan, “Biomimetic Superhydrophobic Surfaces: Multiscale Approach,” Nano Letters, Vol. 7, No. 9, 2007, pp. 2633-2637. doi:10.1021/nl071023f
[11] N. J. Shirtcliffe, G. McHale, M. I. Newton, G. Chabrol and C. C. Perry, “Dual-Scale Roughness Produces Unusually Water-Repellent Surfaces,” Advanced Materials, Vol. 16, 2004, pp. 1929-1932. doi:10.1002/adma.200400315
[12] M. Thieme, R. Frenzel, S. Schmidt, F. Simon, A. Hennig, H. Worch, K. Lunkwitz and D. Scharnweber, “Generation of Ultrahydrophobic Properties of Aluminium—A First Step to Self-Cleaning Transparently Coated Metal Surfaces,” Advanced Engineering Materials, Vol. 3, No. 9, 2001, pp. 691-695. doi:10.1002/1527-2648(200109)3:9<691::AID-ADEM691>3.0.CO;2-8
[13] J. J. Victor, D. Facchini, G. Palumbo and U. Erb, “Biology Inspired Superhydrophobic Surfaces,” Advanced Materials Research, Vol. 409, 2012, pp. 814-819.
[14] J. J. Victor, D. Facchini and U. Erb, “A Low-Cost Method to Produce Superhydrophobic Polymer Surfaces,” Journal of Materials Science, Vol. 47, No. 8, 2012, pp. 3690-3697. doi:10.1007/s10853-011-6217-x
[15] E. A. Baker and G. M. Hunt, “Erosion of Waxes from Leaf Surfaces by Simulated Rain,” New Phytologist, Vol. 102, No. 1, 1986, pp. 161-173. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8137.1986.tb00807.x
[16] K. Koch, A. Dommisse and W. Barthlott, “Chemistry and Crystal Growth of Plant Wax Tubules of Lotus (Nelumbonucifera) and Nasturtium (Tropaeolummajus) Leaves on Technical Substrates,” Crystal Growth and Design, Vol. 6, 2006, pp. 2571-2578. doi:10.1021/cg060035w
[17] K. Koch, K. D. Hartmann, L. Schreiber, W. Barthlott and C. Neinhuis, “Influences of Air Humidity During the Cultivation of Plants on Wax Chemical Composition, Morphology and Leaf Surface Wettability,” Environmental and Experimental Botany, Vol. 56, 2006, pp. 1-9. doi:10.1016/j.envexpbot.2004.09.013
[18] C. Neinhuis and W. Barthlott, “Seasonal Changes of Leaf Surface Contamination in Beech, Oak, and Ginkgo in Relation to Leaf Micromorphology and Wettability,” New Phytologist, Vol. 138, No. 1, 1998, pp. 91-98. doi:10.1046/j.1469-8137.1998.00882.x
[19] C. Neinhuis, K. Koch and W. Barthlott, “Movement and Regeneration of Epicuticular Waxes through Plant Cuticles,” Planta, Vol. 213, No. 3, 2001, pp. 427-434. doi:10.1007/s004250100530
[20] ImageJ, 2007.
[21] Weather Data, 2011.
[22] C. E. Jeffree, “Plant Cuticles an Integrated Functional Approach,” Bios Scientific, Oxford, 1996.
[23] E. A. Baker, “The Plant Cuticle,” Academic Press, London, 1982.

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.