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BIT Texture Structure
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Texture describes the surface of something.


The surface of the lotus leaf has a bumpy texture. When it emerges from its muddy habitat, tiny bumps restrict the amount of surface for dirt particles to stick to. This makes it easy for the rain to wash the leaf clean.


Textile designers are trained to use different methods to create texture in their fabrics, but this is mostly for aesthetic purposes. Perhaps we can use texture to restrict contact and protect our textiles.

Biology can teach us how texture can help control the amount of accessible surface area.


The lotus plant (Nelumbo nucifera) is known for keeping clean in very muddy habitats. The surface of the leaf  is covered with microscopic bumps, or papillae. Each papillae is topped with epicuticular wax. Although the epicuticular wax is naturally water repellent (hydrophobic) it is the structure and positioning of the papillae and wax that enables the leaf to keep clean.

The distance between each bump is smaller than the diameter of the particles of dirt. This means the dirt sits on the very top of the bumps. When it rains, water droplets (which are bigger than the dirt particles) roll across the surface picking up the dirt and carrying it away to keep it clean. 

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