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Scientists propose a fundamentally new way of obtaining water from the air

The discovery of alternative ways to extract water will make it possible to prepare for adverse conditions. UAE experts have found a new method for extracting water from natural sources: dew and fog.

How does it work

During the research, the team of scientists was able for the first time to observe the spontaneous process of moisture condensation from vapor to liquid form and then its movement across the surface of an organic crystal. Apparently, this is due to changes in the width of small channels that appear on the crystal surface over time.

The movement of water on solid surfaces is one of nature’s most fundamental phenomena. Over the millennia of evolution, the surfaces of natural organisms have become optimal for the efficient transport of water to support life. Some plants do this by defying gravity,
— say researchers from the Smart Materials Laboratory (SML) and Center for Intelligent Engineering Materials (CSEM) at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD).

The team discovered a new way to transfer water from a dynamic solid surface, a fundamentally new principle of water harvesting. It could serve as inspiration for technologies that increase the effectiveness of experimental systems to collect moisture from the air.

The research is based on a new understanding of the mechanisms. Fluid collection on biological structures and analogues. The authors described the process of condensation and movement of water on the surface of hexachlorobenzene crystals, a compound often used as a fungicide. Thanks to sublimation, the surface of the mineral has a hard topography with clear parallel channels. Small solid particles such as dust or metal can pass through them under the influence of condensed steam.

Previously, such independent movement of water was achieved either by chemical modification of the surface or by the precise application of microchannels, or on the surface of biological systems, for example plants or insects. A new discovery may lead to emergence of water harvesting technologies from natural sources – dew or fog, which is now only used by some desert plants and animals.

Source: 24 Tv



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