Bionic technology improves air intake efficiency by five times

Many years ago, the researchers found that the survival of plants and animals living in drought and desert areas found that these organisms have the ability to obtain water from a mist that has drifted for a short time. Based on this principle, many devices for extracting water from the fog have been manufactured over the past 17 years. However, how to make the water intake efficiency of this device ideal is still confusing. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) recently announced that they have developed a new fog water intake system that can increase water intake efficiency by more than five times.

The basic principle of water extraction from the air mist is to weave an oversized network and collect the tiny droplets of air in the air after they meet the network cable and condense into large droplets. MIT researchers found that there are three factors that determine the efficiency of mist extraction, namely, the thickness of the mesh, the size of the mesh spacing, and the coating on the surface of the mesh. The prior art devices are mainly webs knitted from polyolefin materials. Although this web is simple and inexpensive to sew, it is often because of the excessively thick mesh and large meshes. The result is not ideal, and it can only be in the state of light fog. Get 2% water withdrawal rate.

The researchers found that some desert insects (such as the Beetle of the Namib Desert in southern Africa) have a hard surface on the surface of the wire that is exposed to water from the mist. The reason why the permeability structure of the mesh structure has a high rate of water extraction is mainly Because the wind blows the beads of mist around the surface of the mesh, they condense. They therefore use a stainless steel mesh that is 3 to 4 times thicker than hair as a mesh braiding network. The gap between the meshes is approximately twice that of the mesh, and the surface of the mesh is coated with a chemical coating that easily allows the water to sink. , to reduce the occurrence of reticulation angle at the intersection of the wire mesh, and let the mist formed on the mesh flow down into the bottom to be collected. This kind of vertical mesh structure called “fog bead collection system” allows the system to obtain more than 10% water withdrawal rate under light fog conditions. If the network is superimposed and used, it can also obtain a greater water intake rate.

At present, the system has been placed in the coastal mountainous area on the edge of the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. Generally, a few liters of drinking water per square meter of grid can be obtained per day. In the season of strong wind and air humidity, it can even obtain more than 12 litres per day. drinking water.

The research results were published in the latest edition of the Langmuir Magazine online edition published by the American Chemical Society. (Reporter Tian discipline)

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