When I think of something soft and delicate, rose petals come to mind. It could be from a childhood memory - the scent of my mother’s hand lotion. Or perhaps it could be the memory of a flowergirl scattering rose petals along the bride’s path.
But rose petals may be tougher than they look. Maybe they even posess their very own superpower - superhydrophobicity.
In a study  released earlier this month, rose petals were described as having the “ability to immobilise very small droplets on a surface”. According to Dr. Telford from the University of Sydney, “Water droplets bead up in a spherical shape on top of rose petals...a sign the flower is highly water repellent."
Check it out for yourself. If you look closely at the center of this rose, you’ll see three spherical droplets of water.
Superhydrophobicity is “largely due to the special structure of the rose petal’s surface.” Scientists describe the petal’s surface as composed of “raspberry particles”. Here’s a picture of a mulberry, to give you an idea of what they mean:
And here’s a link  that gives you simple visual explanation of how it works at a microscopic level.
1) “Air gets entrapped between the micrometric nubs of the surface. 2) A “liquid-solid-air composite interface is formed.
3) Grooves on the raspberry nubs “anchors water droplets tightly to the surface”.
Researchers were able to create a material in the lab that replicates this property. “The research team replicated the rose petal by assembling raspberry particles in the lab using spherical micro- and nanoparticles.”
Just imagine how useful this could be. As one writer puts it , “this ability to trap water on a surface could have a huge number of applications, from preventing condensation in critical environments like aeroplane cabins, to enabling cheap, fast and portable medical tests by holding droplets of liquid stationary on a surface for analysis.” Now that would be groovy superpower, wouldn’t it?
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, October 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30.
Saturday mornings, October 12 & 26.
Placerita Canyon Wild Flower Calendar 2014- Looking for a unique and local gift? For $10, the Docents and Volunteers at Placerita Canyon Nature Center are offering a calendar filled with original photos of local wild flowers. Best of all, your purchase will help support their fine work at the Placerita Canyon Nature Center. They will be available sometime after October 15 at the Placerita Canyon Nature Center Gift Shop.
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.
There’s also a new website for bicycle riders .
Ask Dr. Norm : Do you have questions about the flora, fauna, animals, rocks, etc. in our Santa Clarita Valley? Here’s a place for you to ask your questions. Dr. Norman Herr, Ph.D., is a professor of science and computer education at California State University, Northridge.
Tell Us About Your Hike : Here’s a new website where you can post pictures, provide feedback and make suggestions about the City of Santa Clarita’s trails and open spaces.
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.
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