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A better way to repel water

A better way to repel water



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Researchers at MIT have found that lubricated, nanotextured surfaces improve the performance of condensers in desalination plants and power plants.

Condensers are a crucial part of today's power generation systems: around 80% of all power plants in the world use them to convert steam back into water once it leaves the turbines that turn generators. They are also a key element in desalination plants, increasingly contributing to the world's supply of drinking water.

Now a new surface architecture designed by researchers at MIT promises to significantly boost the performance of these capacitors. The research is described in an article recently published online in the journal ACS Nano.

The key to the improved hydrophobic (water repellent) surface is a combination of a microscopic pattern - a surface covered in tiny bumps or poles just 10 microns in diameter, about the size of a red blood cell - and a coating of a lubricant, such as oil. The researchers found that the small spaces between the posts hold the oil in place through capillary action.

The team also found that water droplets that condense on this surface move 10,000 times faster than on surfaces that only have the hydrophobic pattern. The speed of movement of these drops is essential for them to fall from the surface so that new drops can form, increasing the efficiency of heat transfer in a condenser of a power plant, or the rate of water production in a desalination plant.

Source: http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2012/better-slippery-surfaces-1022.html?goback=.gde_3287601_member_177520802



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