March 18, 2008

Paper-based humidifier with hydrophobic coating

When water droplets fall on lotus leaves, they bead up into balls. Dubbed the lotus effect, this phenomenon occurs because the infinitesimal hairs coating the surface of the leaves repel water. Super hydrophobic coating is the technology by which the lotus effect is scientifically engineered and was developed for use in special paints and coatings for self-cleaning and snow-repelling surfaces.

Designer Kenya Hara employs this technology in a natural humidifier with no electro-mechanical parts. Daring to use paper as his base material, Hara applied a coating of hydrophobic aerosol developed by NTT Advanced Technology Corporation. Imbued with a surface microstructure similar to that of a lotus leaf, the paper causes most of the water placed on it to turs immediately into round drops. With the transformation of a fixed amount of water into many small balls, the increased surface area accelerates the evaporation of the water and makes apparent the humidifying effect. Because the water need not be heated, the humidifier requires zero energy.

Contact: Kenya Hara, Tokyo, Japan.

For more information, see Transmaterial 2: A Catalog of Materials That Redefine our Physical Environment

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