Water is the basis of life in the world. Unfortunately, resources are shrinking at an alarming rate. The lack of access to water is still the biggest problem in the modern world. The key to solving it is to find new unconventional ways to obtain water from alternative sources. Fog collectors are becoming an increasingly important way of water harvesting as there are places in the world where fog is the only source of water. Our aim is to apply electrospun fiber technology, due to its high surface area, to increase fog collection efficiency. Therefore, composites consisting of hydrophobic and hydrophilic fibers were successfully fabricated using a two-nozzle electrospinning setup. This design enables the realization of optimal meshes for harvesting water from fog. In our studies we focused on combining hydrophobic polystyrene (PS) and hydrophilic polyamide 6 (PA6), surface properties in the produced meshes, without any chemical modifications, on the basis of new hierarchical composites for collecting water. This combination of hydrophobic and hydrophilic materials causes water to condense on the hydrophobic microfibers and to run down on the hydrophilic nanofibers. By adjusting the fraction of PA6 nanofibers, we were able to tune the mechanical properties of PS meshes and importantly increase the efficiency in collecting water. We combined a few characterization methods together with novel image processing protocols for the analysis of fiber fractions in the constructed meshes. The obtained results show a new single-step method to produce meshes with enhanced mechanical properties and water collecting abilities that can be applied in existing fog water collectors. This is a new promising design for fog collectors with nano- and macrofibers which are able to efficiently harvest water, showing great application in comparison to commercially available standard meshes.
- mechanical properties
- fog collectors