Navigation Links
Can a drop of water cause sunburn or fire?
Date:1/10/2010

To the gardening world it may have always been considered a fact, but science has never proved the widely held belief that watering your garden in the midday sun can lead to burnt plants. Now a study into sunlit water droplets, published in New Phytologist, provides an answer that not only reverberates across gardens and allotments, but may have implications for forest fires and human sunburn.

"The problem of light focusing by water droplets adhered to plants has never been thoroughly investigated, neither theoretically, nor experimentally", said lead researcher Dr Gabor Horvath, from Hungary's Eotvos University. "However, this is far from a trivial question. The prevailing opinion is that forest fires can be sparked by intense sunlight focused by water drops on dried-out vegetation."

The team conducted both computational and experimental studies to determine how the contact angle between the water droplet and a leaf affects the light environment on a leaf blade. The aim was to clarify the environmental conditions under which sunlit water drops can cause leaf burn.

These experiments found that water droplets on a smooth surface, such as maple or ginkgo leaves, cannot cause leaf burn. However in contrast the team found that floating fern leaves, which have small wax hairs, are susceptible to leaf burn. This is because the hairs can hold the water droplets in focus above the leaf's surface, acting as a magnifying glass. The latter not only partly confirms the widely held belief of gardeners, but also opens an analogous issue of sunburn on hairy human skin after bathing.

"In sunshine water drops residing on smooth hairless plant leaves are unlikely to damage the leaf tissue", summarised Horvath and co-authors. "However water drops held by plant hairs can indeed cause sunburn and the same phenomenon can occur when water droplets are held above human skin by body hair."

While the same process could theoretically lead to forest fires if water droplets are caught on dried-out vegetation, Horvath and colleagues added a note of caution:

"If the focal region of drops falls exactly on the dry plant surface intensely focused sunlight could theoretically start a fire," Horvath said. "However, the likelihood is reduced as the water drops should evaporate before this, so these claims should be treated with a grain of salt."


'/>"/>

Contact: Ben Norman
Benorman@wiley.com
44-124-377-0375
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Glacial watersheds may contribute to oceanic food web
2. Lost water of the Napa Valley vineyards
3. Newly identified enzymes help plants sense elevated CO2 and could lead to water-wise crops
4. Lehigh University professor receives Astellas Award for arsenic groundwater remediation efforts
5. Canna can: Ornamental eliminates pollutants from stormwater runoff
6. Uniform analyses for clean drinking water in Europe
7. UGA researchers lead team in discovery involving devastating freshwater fish parasite, Ich
8. Just like old times: Generating RNA molecules in water
9. K-State program will give young professionals skills to protect water resources
10. Geologists studying groundwater arsenic levels in India empower Bengali women, children
11. UMCES researchers launch freshwater marsh study
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/24/2017)... , April 24, 2017 ... and partner with  Identity Strategy Partners, LLP (IdSP) ... "With or without President Trump,s March 6, 2017 ... Terrorist Entry , refugee vetting can be instilled with ... resettlement. (Right now, all refugee applications are suspended ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... According to a new market research report "Consumer IAM Market ... Authorization), Service, Authentication Type, Deployment Mode, Vertical, and Region - Global Forecast ... from USD 14.30 Billion in 2017 to USD 31.75 Billion by 2022, ... ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
(Date:4/6/2017)... 6, 2017 Forecasts by Product ... Readers, by End-Use (Transportation & Logistics, Government & Public ... & Fossil Generation Facility, Nuclear Power), Industrial, Retail, Business ... Are you looking for a definitive report on ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:7/18/2017)... ... July 18, 2017 , ... Blood centers traditionally see a dangerous ... Nationally, summer is a struggle for community blood centers as high schools are out ... Chamber of Commerce is teaming up with the South Texas Blood & ...
(Date:7/17/2017)... ... , ... Whitehouse Laboratories is excited to announce that it ... of ISO 80369 standard test procedures. The ISO 80369 series of eight test ... With this recent expansion, Whitehouse Labs becomes one of the only facilities in ...
(Date:7/17/2017)... ... July 17, 2017 , ... OHAUS Corporation, ... the launch of its new line of Heavy-Duty Orbital Shakers today. , Eight ... and digital) for laboratory applications. These shakers are ideal for load capacities ...
(Date:7/17/2017)... ... July 17, 2017 , ... Co-Diagnostics, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... intends both to manufacture and sell reagents used for diagnostic tests, has completed ... Headquartered in Sandy, Utah, Co-Diagnostics’ intellectual property and technologies are protected by five ...
Breaking Biology Technology: