Seasonal changes in morphology govern wettability of Katsura leaves

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Abstract

Deciduous broad-leaf trees survive and prepare for winter by shedding their leaves in fall. During the fall season, a change in a leaf's wettability and its impact on the leaf-fall are not well understood. In this study, we measure the surface morphology and wettability of Katsura leaves from the summer to winter, and reveal how leaf structural changes lead to wettability changes. The averaged contact angle of leaves decreases from 147° to 124° while the contact-angle hysteresis significantly increases by about 35°, which are attributed to dehydration and erosion of nano-wax. Due to such wettability changes, fall brown leaves support approximately 17 times greater water volume than summer leaves.

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Kang, H., Graybill, P. M., Fleetwood, S., Boreyko, J. B., & Jung, S. (2018). Seasonal changes in morphology govern wettability of Katsura leaves. PLoS ONE, 13(9). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0202900

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