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Nanotube forests drink water from arid air

Phys.org/news (Jun 11, 2014 )

Titre : Nanotube forests drink water from arid air

If you don’t want to die of thirst in the desert, be like the beetle. Or have a nanotube cup handy. New research by scientists at Rice University demonstrated that forests of carbon nanotubes can be made to harvest water molecules from arid desert air and store them for future use.

Phys.org/news (Jun 11, 2014 )

Présentation
The invention they call a "hygroscopic scaffold" is detailed in a new paper in the American Chemical Society journal Applied Materials and Interfaces.

Researchers in the lab of Rice materials scientist Pulickel Ajayan found a way to mimic the Stenocara beetle, which survives in the desert by stretching its wings to capture and drink water molecules from the early morning fog.

They modified carbon nanotube forests grown through a process created at Rice, giving the nanotubes a superhydrophobic (water-repelling) bottom and a hydrophilic (water loving) top. The forest attracts water molecules from the air and, because the sides are naturally hydrophobic, traps them inside.

"It doesn’t require any external energy, and it keeps water inside the forest," said graduate student and first author Sehmus Ozden. "You can squeeze the forest to take the water out and use the material again."

The forests grown via water-assisted chemical vapor deposition consist of nanotubes that measure only a few nanometers (billionths of a meter) across and about a centimeter long.

Source  : Rice University

Annonce (Phys.org/news)

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