Michael B. Cortie, Ph.D.
University of Technology Sydney
Phone: 61 02 9514 2208
ARTICLE #2 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Solving another mystery of an amazing water walker
Walking on water may seem like a miracle to humans, but it is a ho-hum for the water strider and scientists who already solved the mystery of that amazing ability. Now researchers in Korea are reporting a long-sought explanation for the water striders baffling ability to leap onto a liquid surface without sinking. The study is scheduled for the Dec. 18 issue of ACS Langmuir, a bi-weekly journal.
In the new study, Ho-Young Kim and Duck-Gyu Lee note that scientists already have discovered the hydrophobic, or water-repellent, structure of the water striders legs and how they allowed the creatures to scoot along ponds and placid lakes. However, their ability to jump onto or bounce off liquid surfaces remained a lingering scientific mystery.
Kim and Lee solved it by dropping a highly water-repellent sphere onto the surface of water at different speeds, carefully tracking its motion with high-speed cameras. They found that the ball must be traveling within a narrow velocity range in order to bounce off the waters surface. The sphere may sink if it goes too fast and wont bounce back if too slow. The highly improved ability of heavy hydrophobic solids to keep afloat on water even after i
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American Chemical Society