Power Lines and Hydrophobicity
The freezing rain from an ice storm covers everything with heavy, smooth glaze ice. In addition to hazardous driving or walking conditions, branches or even whole trees may break from the weight of ice. Falling branches can block roads, tear down power and telephone lines, and cause other damage. Even without falling trees and tree branches, the weight of the ice itself can easily snap power lines and also break and bring down power/utility poles; even electricity pylons with steel frames. This can leave people without power for anywhere from several days to a month. According to most meteorologists, just one quarter of an inch of ice accumulation can add about 500 pounds (230 kg) of weight per line span. Damage from ice storms is easily capable of shutting down entire metropolitan areas.
Hydrophobicity is the physical property of a molecule (known as a hydrophobe) that is repelled from a mass of water.
Examples of hydrophobic molecules include the alkanes, oils, fats, and greasy substances in general. Hydrophobic materials are used for oil removal from water, the management of oil spills, and chemical separation processes to remove non-polar substances from polar compounds.
A super-hydrophobic coating is a surface layer that repels water.
Superhydrophobic surfaces are highly hydrophobic, i.e., extremely difficult to wet. This is also referred to as the Lotus effect, after the superhydrophobic leaves of the lotus plant.
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