September 2020
Vol 6, Issue 37

About The Cover

Cover image expansion

ONLINE COVER In nature, plants and animals have adapted to take advantage of the physical properties of water, controlling its fluid dynamics so to aid in their survival. For example, pitcher plants in the tropics form a lubricating water layer from condensation that causes insects to slip into their trap, while shorebirds perform a tweezer-like motion with their beaks to drive the movement of water into their mouths. In this review, Dai et al. describe how these natural phenomena have inspired artificial superwetting materials, which have been manipulated to enhance their ability to interact with water. Materials that rely on these surface-water interactions have recently been tested for applications in fog collection, 3D printing, energy devices, liquid-liquid separation, soft machines, and sensors. The researchers suggest that the efficiency of directional liquid dynamics could be further improved in the future by combining external stimulation with artificial structures modeled after those found in nature. [CREDIT: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/SCIENCE SOURCE]