Innovation and evolution of forms and materials for maximising dew collection
A year long study focusing on maximising dew collection using new and novel forms and materials commenced with a literature review and then the testing of nearly two hundred materials and forms using a dew simulation chamber. The research asserts that whereas present and past dew collection studies have focused on passive slippery, hydrophobic, inclined planar forms, that there are other forms that show potential for collecting dew. These include hydroscopic metallic and carbon foams with large interstices where dew can collect but which are also slippery and hydrophobic so that the dew can be rejected by gravity and then replaced by more dew. These types of forms could be used in semi-passive systems where people are at hand to extract the dew. Biomimesis, particularly with regards to cacti is investigated and materials with spiny / lanceolate projections show positive results as do some open foam materials. Other forms / materials derived from nature which are investigated and which require further study include airfoil shaped forms derived from beetles, corrugated and ribbed/finned shaped forms derived from leaves, particularly cacti, as well as insects. The study also investigates high emissivity materials. The testing of the forms and materials in the dew chamber provides a means for comparing their ability to collect dew. However as the dew simulation chamber is not a device specifically designed for dew research the results cannot be used definitively to predict the amounts that could be collected out doors. The research, however presents a number of potential new paths for maximising dew collection which should be taken further and tested in the field.
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