Although for anyone a drop of rain is not a big problem, for butterflies it is usually the equivalent of the impact of an object weighing more than 4 kilos.
However, the force with which raindrops fall may be less dangerous to birds and insects such as butterflies thanks to the characteristics of their wings. According to the latest study carried out, these have the following characteristics.
Nanoscale thorns, the secret of protection against raindrops
In the investigation that bears by name How a Raindrop Gets Shattered on Biological Surfaces and that has been released in the magazine Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, it has been possible to test very closely the impact a raindrop has on the wings of insects and bird feathers.
In the tests, raindrops were dropped at a distance of two meters to study the process when they touched the wings. Using high-speed cameras, they realized that the wings have a micro-armor that allows the liquid to slip and break into hundreds of drops, this by means of the nanometric spines that it possesses.
Something of utmost importance that was also discovered is that in order not to cool the wings, which can affect the flight of the butterfly, A wax coating reduces liquid contact by up to 70%. Thanks to this, the muscles can make the wings continue on their way without staying on top of every drop that can fall at 10 meters per second.
As Sunghwan Jung has highlighted: Being hit by a drop of water is one of the most dangerous situations for such a small animal.
At the end of the investigation, it is also revealed that the specialists, led by Jung, obtain the necessary information to develop materials that can be used in the manufacture of waterproof clothing and even in the field of aeronautics. We will surely show more progress in the area in the not too distant future.