A highly efficient fog harvester of electrospun permanent superhydrophobic-hydrophilic polymer nanocomposite fiber mats

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Uddin, M. Nizam
Desai, Fenil J.
Rahman, Muhammad M.
Asmatulu, Ramazan
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Aluminum compounds , Carbonization , Contact angle , Crystal structure , Electrospinning , Esters , Fibers , Fog , Harvesting , Hydrophilicity , Morphology , Nanocomposites , Nanoparticles , Oxide minerals , Runoff , Superhydrophobicity , Titanium dioxide , Water conservation , Water management , Water supply
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Md. N. Uddin, F. J. Desai, M. M. Rahman and R. Asmatulu. A highly efficient fog harvester of electrospun permanent superhydrophobic–hydrophilic polymer nanocomposite fiber mats. Nanoscale Adv., 2020, 2, 4627

To address the worldwide issue of water scarcity, which is threatening our sustainable economic development and ecological security, an efficient water-collecting surface with fast-capturing capability and easy drainage is essential. Inspired by the fog-harvesting capability of Stenocara beetles in the Namib Desert, this study presents an easy method for fabricating flexible, permanent, electrospun superhydrophobic–hydrophilic polyacrylonitrile (PAN) and poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) nanocomposite fiber mats for atmospheric fog water harvesting. This combination of a hydrophobic PAN domain and hydrophilic nanomaterials causes water to condense on the hydrophilic micro and nanoparticles and roll off the hydrophobic nanofibers. By adjusting the proportion of micro and nanomaterials, we can tune the fog water harvesting efficiency. The superhydrophobic–hydrophilic nanocomposite fibers are fabricated with various proportions of titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles and aluminum (Al) microparticles using the electrospinning technique followed by stabilization and carbonization to remove all non-carbonaceous materials from the fiber structures. The fiber morphology, surface hydrophobicity, crystal structure, and fog-harvesting performance of the nanocomposite fibers were investigated. A water contact angle of 154.8° was achieved with the addition of a 10% inclusion of combined micro- and nanoparticles. The experimental tests of these nanocomposites demonstrated the feasibility of the freshwater production with a daily water productivity of more than 1.49 liter m−2 of the nanocomposites. It is estimated that the material cost of making such nanocomposites to supply minimum daily water consumption for a household with 2 members (i.e., 6 liters) is only $4.96 (USD). These nanocomposites are cheap and affordable, and require no additional input of energy, and are especially suitable for clean water production in arid areas. This work offers a very feasible and novel tool to achieve the mass production of water-harvesting materials.

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© The Royal Society of Chemistry. Open access. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported Licence. Material from this article can be used in other publications provided that the correct acknowledgement is given with the reproduced material and it is not used for commercial purposes.
Royal Society of Chemistry
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Nanoscale Advances;v.2:no.10
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