Tomer Reuveni and Tamir Assa, students in the School of Chemistry at Tel Aviv University, have designed an experiment aimed at understanding the physics behind the term "surface tension". Special software is used to measure and calculate the contact angle that forms between water drops and hard surfaces of different materials. In addition to surfaces like glass, Teflon, and PVC, they also study the surface tension on hydrophobic (=water repellent) leaves. The plant chosen for the experiment was Monstera deliciosa (Swiss cheese plant), a climber with large perforated leaves that grows in tropical forests in America and belongs to the Aracea family.

The experiment was based on a theoretical model linking the angle that forms between water drops and the surface they touch, and enables to calculate the surface tension. In another part of the experiment the researchers examined the effect of increasing concentrations of propanol (a kind of alcohol) on the surface tension of the plant's leaves. The leaf surface is covered with a waxy layer that naturally repels water. The propanol weakens the chemical bond that binds the water molecules together, and consequently promotes the binding of the water solution to the waxy layer. As a result, and in accordance with the researchers' hypothesis, as the concentration of the propanol increases the angle of contact between the solution and the leaf's surface decreases, meaning that the water drops become attached better to the leaf surface.

The stages of the experiment were documented with a scanning electron microscope.

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