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Feeling the Existence of Air in a Drop of Rolling Water

Unlocking the two properties of “ultra water repellency” and “super slipperiness” with an amazing water drop

A bouncing water drop withstands dripping through holes

Water dribbled on a plate suddenly creates a splendid water drop that excitedly rolls down the plate in a bouncing fashion. Even after it settles in the mesh-patterned center, it will not seep through the holes, and adding more water only causes this water drop to rapidly grow in size. Is it magic?

In fact, the phenomenon in this prototype called "lotus leaf" is the result of a coating agent recently developed by Daikin Industries. The coating agent generates properties of "ultra water repellency" and "super slipperiness" on treated surfaces treated. "Ultra water repellency" is achieved by a technology that lifts water dribbled on surfaces to a 150 degree angle, and this dynamic force induces water to repeatedly tumble over itself, creating the effect of "super slipperiness" in the process. Not only is this technology effective for water, it works for oil too.

A design to visualize technology

Learning of this remarkable technology made us wonder how we could give expression to it and maximize the use of its two properties of "ultra water repellency" and "super slipperiness." We set out to convert the technology to a form that could be easily seen and conveyed so that many people could experience it.

As with the actual lotus leaf that gives the project its name, surface tension causes water to form a droplet similar to that of rainwater on the surface of a lotus leaf and gives the droplet the capacity to maintain its lovely shape. Consequently, the effect is named the "lotus effect."

As with the lotus leaf, the plate creates an open space where water forms a bouncing water drop that rolls down the side. This is because of a finely-coarse fluorocarbon coating that has been applied to the surface. The ultra water repellency of the coating acts like magic in preventing water from dripping through the many holes in the center.

Is the bouncing water drop a trick of air?

People seeing this "lotus leaf" for the first time are astonished and through this experience they can fully appreciate the two properties of "ultra water repellency" and "super slipperiness." Moreover, when watching the water drop rolling along the plate, there is a sense that air is playing with it. Together with visualizing the invisible air and technology, we hoped that this project brings you a little closer to air.

In investigating this type of non-product design, we discovered a new frontier of thought that includes innovative development possibilities in the collaboration of technology and design. This prototype generates a variety of ideas such as "food utensils that don't need washing" and "tools in a medical setting that always preserve sanitary conditions."

Introduced by AXIS 186 Series "The Prototype"
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