Hydrophobic plants are a big problem for farmers. When they spray crops with pesticides, up to half bounces off.
But scientists may have figured out how to prevent splash. In a new study, researchers added a chemical known as Aerosol OT to water and found that it reduced, and in some cases even eliminated, splashing on superhydrophobic leaves.
Previous research explored the possibility of using polymers to help reduce splash. But some of those polymers could actually harm the environment if left on plants.
The scientists in this new study said their findings might help reduce pesticide use, leading to less waste and environmental pollution.
The research could also have applications in hospitals, where chemical spills are one of the leading causes of injury. Scientists are producing floor coatings that eliminate splash when a liquid spills.