IIT- Guwahati researchers develop efficient method to harvest drinking water from air – education
Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Guwahati have developed novel materials that can efficiently collect water from humid air. The research has also been published in the prestigious international journal of the Royal Society of Chemistry. “With the increasing scarcity of water around the world, there have been attempts to collect and conserve water through non-traditional means. Scientists have turned to nature to design ways to collect water. “For example, in regions of the world with naturally low rainfall, plants and insects have devised ingenious strategies to extract and collect water directly from the air. By mimicking this, scientists around the world are trying to create technologies that can draw water out of nowhere, both literally and figuratively, ”said Uttam Manna, associate professor at the IIT Guwahati Center for Nanotechnology.
He said such water harvesting techniques use the concept of the hydrophobicity or water-repellent nature of some materials. “The concept of hydrophobicity can be understood by looking at the lotus leaf. The lotus leaf repels water because there is a layer of air trapped between the surface of the leaf and the drop of water, causing the drop to slide off the leaf, ”added Manna. According to the team, researchers have used the concept of SLIPS with chemical standards for the first time to effectively collect water from humid air.
“We have produced a highly efficient water collection interface where the mist collection rate is really high. Researchers have also compared the performance of their pitcher plant-inspired materials to other bio-inspired ideas and found theirs to be superior in terms of water harvesting efficiency, ”Manna said.
“Since more than 50 percent of the population of India does not have access to safe drinking water and around 200,000 people die each year due to lack of access to clean water, the inexpensive method of collecting water from water vapor or the mist droplets in the air can potentially alleviate the country’s water shortage problems, ”added Manna.
The team included research researchers Kousik Maji, Avijit Das, and Manideepa Dhar.