Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Why do dew drops do what they do on leaves?

Date:
January 12, 2012
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore once wrote, "Let your life lightly dance on the edges of time like dew on the tip of a leaf." Now, a new study is finally offering an explanation for why small dew drops do as Tagore advised and form on the tips, rather than the flat surfaces, of leaves.

Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore once wrote, "Let your life lightly dance on the edges of time like dew on the tip of a leaf."
Credit: yellowj / Fotolia

Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore once wrote, "Let your life lightly dance on the edges of time like dew on the tip of a leaf." Now, a new study is finally offering an explanation for why small dew drops do as Tagore advised and form on the tips, rather than the flat surfaces, of leaves. It appears in ACS' journal Langmuir.

Related Articles


In the study, Martin E. R. Shanahan observes that drops of water have a preference for exactly where they collect on leaves as their surfaces cool in the morning and afternoon. Those droplets, which condense from water vapor -- moisture -- in the air, collect randomly across the surfaces of flat leaves. However, dew drops tend to accumulate at the tips of spindly leaves, even if that means defying gravity by moving upwards. He explains that an inherent "unwillingness" or "lack of necessity" of water drops to move on a dry surface governs their positioning on flat leaves, causing them to stay where they form. Dew's tendency to head to the end of finely pointed leaves, however, sent Shanahan looking for a different explanation.

The answer is based on the fundamental principle of free energy, that everything in nature seeks the lowest possible energy state. Shanahan modeled two types of dew drops on a theoretical (simplified) cone-shaped leaf: a thin, cylindrical sheath of water and a spherical drop centered on the cone's axis. In both cases, he found that the drop lowered its energy by moving toward the point of the leaf.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Martin E. R. Shanahan. On the Behavior of Dew Drops. Langmuir, 2011; 27 (24): 14919 DOI: 10.1021/la203316k

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Why do dew drops do what they do on leaves?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120111134041.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2012, January 12). Why do dew drops do what they do on leaves?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120111134041.htm
American Chemical Society. "Why do dew drops do what they do on leaves?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120111134041.htm (accessed January 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cablevision Enters Wi-Fi Phone Fray

Cablevision Enters Wi-Fi Phone Fray

Reuters - Business Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) The entry by Cablevision and Google could intensify the already heated price wars for mobile phone service. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hector the Robot Mimics a Giant Stick Insect

Hector the Robot Mimics a Giant Stick Insect

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) A robot based on a stick insect can navigate difficult terrain autonomously and adapt to its surroundings. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Model Flying, Walking Drone After Vampire Bats

Scientists Model Flying, Walking Drone After Vampire Bats

Buzz60 (Jan. 26, 2015) Swiss scientists build a new drone that can both fly and walk, modeling it after the movements of common vampire bats. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama's Wildlife Plan Renews Alaska Drilling Debate

Obama's Wildlife Plan Renews Alaska Drilling Debate

Newsy (Jan. 26, 2015) President Obama&apos;s proposal aims to protect more land in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but so far, all that&apos;s materialized is a war of words. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins