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Conservation through cultivation

Synthetic tree mimics transpiration

Transpiration is the process that allows water in the ground to be pulled up by plant roots into the stem and out to the leaves. Transpiration appears to take no biological energy.

Learning how to duplicate this process could have an important impact on building designs.

Scientists have made the world’s first synthetic tree: a palm-sized duplication of the elegant process by which trees drink. . . .

Cornell University researchers modeled the water-transporting tissue, called “xylem,” with fine networks of hydrogel-embedded capillaries. The hydrogel itself had nanometer-scale pores — the same material is used in contact lenses — that allowed water to evaporate, creating the necessary pressure differential.

The artificial tree proved capable of transporting water, raising the possibility of applying transpiration mechanisms to the heating systems of buildings or the cooling systems of computers. [ read more A Synthetic Tree Grows at Cornell]

See also:
Stroock lab creates first synthetic tree