Sustainable atmospheric fog water generator through superhydrophobic electrospun nanocomposite fibers of recycled expanded polystyrene foams
Uddin, Md Nizam
Desai, Fenil J.
Rahman, Muhammad M.
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Uddin, M. N., Desai, F. J., Subeshan, B., Rahman, M. M., & Asmatulu, E. (2021). Sustainable atmospheric fog water generator through superhydrophobic electrospun nanocomposite fibers of recycled expanded polystyrene foams. Surfaces and Interfaces, 25 doi:10.1016/j.surfin.2021.101169
In recent years, the production of disposable plastic products is increasing day by day and resulting in global growing concern that it poses to the environment. Microorganisms hardly resolve these types of plastic wastes; therefore, recycling the value-added materials is very important. Recycling and reusing plastic wastes to produce superhydrophobic nanofibers for atmospheric clean water production could be a partial solution to address the environmental issues. Herein, superhydrophobic-hydrophilic nanocomposites fibers were fabricated using recycled expanded polystyrene (REPS) as inspired by the fog-harvesting capability of Stenocara beetles in the Namib Desert. The REPS were electrospun with various proportions of titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles and aluminum (Al) microparticles. The fiber morphology, surface hydrophobicity, thermal properties, and fog water-harvesting performance of the nanocomposite fibers were studied. The as-prepared nanocomposites fibers with a 10% inclusion of combined micro-and nanoparticles exhibit superhydrophobic properties with a water contact angle of 157° and daily water productivity of more than 1.35 liter/m2 of nanocomposites. The expenses of materials to produce such nanocomposites needed to supply the minimum daily water consumption for a two-member household (6 liters) are only US$2.67. These nanocomposites are inexpensive, reusable, do not require additional energy consumption, and are particularly suitable for producing clean water in arid areas. This study offers a new technology for the mass production of clean water through nanotechnology at a relatively low cost.
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