Next week is Thanksgiving…but for many people… the preparation has already begun. Inviting family & friends, menu planning, grocery shopping, cooking and CLEANING. At our house, it’s time to do a bit of dusting. It’s amazing how quickly dust can collect on the furniture.
That’s also true for the dust that collects on other living things. Take butterflies, for example.
Caption: A Giant Blue Morpho butterfly.
(1) “Their wings are so delicate that getting dirt or moisture on them makes it hard to fly,”
(2) “Plus, males and females recognize each other by the color and patterns on their wings, and every species is unique. So they have to keep their wings bright and visible in order to reproduce.”
Using an electron microscope and other equipment, Dr. Bhushan and graduate student Gregory Bixler studied the surface structure of a Giant Blue Morpho (Morpho didius) butterfly wing. The closer they looked, the more they found. It turns out the surface is not smooth; rather, “the surface texture resembles a clapboard roof with rows of overlapping shingles…” As Dr. Bhushan described it, “water and dirt roll off the wings ‘like water off a roof,’”.
Caption: Zooming in, texture becomes visible on the wing.
Caption: Wing texture in more detail.
Caption: Electron microscope image reveals the texture on the micrometer scale.
Caption: Closeup of micrometer-length “shingles.”
Caption: Nanometer-scale grooves on the surface of the shingles.
Next, these researchers created plastic models of the wing structure and measured both “fluid flow” (as measured by water pressure drop through a pipe) and “cleanability” (as measured by the amount of dirt-like silicon carbide particles collected after washing a flat, tilted surface). Compared to a pipe with a smooth surface, the fluid flow through a wing-like surface improved 15%. As for “cleanability”, 70% of the particles were collect from a smooth surface, compared with 85% from the wing-like surface.
Now, if there were only some way of making our furniture 15% easier to dust.
The photos and captions were provided courtesy of Ohio State University. Photos by Jo McCulty, electron microscope images by Bharat Bhushan and Gregory Bixler.
Upcoming Outdoor Events:
Trail Maintenance Schedule. Come join our volunteers as they help maintain our trails. Contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org for time and place.
Wednesday mornings, November 7, 14, 21 & 28.
Saturday mornings, November 3 & 17.
Saturday, November 17, 8:00-10:00 AM. “Wild Birds of Autumn” at Towsley Canyon. The birds are busy preparing for winter. Beginning birders are welcome. Binoculars optional. Meet outside at the front gate. Click here for a map and directions.
Saturday, November 24, 3:00-5:00 PM. “Handy Plants of the Chaparral at East & Rice Canyon. Ancient uses of local plants are more popular than ever with today’s interest in health, the environment and holistic medicine. Learn how plants and herbs are used for traditional teas, food, medicine and more. Meet in the parking lot. Click here for a map and directions.
New trail maps available. If you’d like to explore a bit on your own, the City of Santa Clarita has a website with trail maps of our local open spaces: http://hikesantaclarita.com/.
There’s also a new website for bicycle riders. http://bikesantaclarita.com
You can listen to stories like this every Friday morning at 7:10 a.m. on “The SCV Outdoor Report”, brought to you by your hometown radio station KHTS (AM1220) and by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.
Or check out our Facebook page – L.A. Mountains.