Materials List: Exploring the Lotus Effect

Each group needs:

  • 2 lotus leaf pieces, or other plant with a superhydrophobic surface (see note below); keep fresh leaves in a sealed plastic bag and refrigerated until ready to use
  • 4 pieces of Nano-Tex™ cloth, 1 small (3 x 3 cm) and 3 larger (10 x 10 cm); see note below
  • cup of water
  • pipette
  • dirt
  • lab gloves
  • tweezers
  • ice cube
  • Petri dish
  • The Lotus Effect Worksheet, one per person

Note about leaves: The leaves of the following plants also demonstrate superhydrophobicity: broccoli, Brussels sprout, cabbage, collard greens, kale, taro (elephant's ear), tulip, turnip greens, and water lily. It is best if leaves are fresh, or have been kept refrigerated since being cut. Alternatively, purchase dried lotus leaves from an Asian grocery, although the dried leaves do not work well for the third section of the lab (Motion and the Lotus Leaf). Keep in mind that the oils from your hands will eventually destroy the effect; wear gloves if you plan to use the same leaf often.

Note about Nano-Tex™ cloth: Purchase garments made of Nano-Tex™ cloth at the stores listed at We used a $15 Ashworth Nano-Tex shirt purchased from Amazon. Other companies make products that demonstrate similar water- and stain-repellent effects.