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Self-floating hybrid hydrogels assembled with conducting polymer hollow spheres and silica aerogel microparticles for solar steam generation

Tan, M; Wang, J; Song, W; Fang, J; Zhang, X; (2018) Self-floating hybrid hydrogels assembled with conducting polymer hollow spheres and silica aerogel microparticles for solar steam generation. Journal of Materials Chemistry A 10.1039/C8TA10057H. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

The design and synthesis of solar steam generation materials have received considerable attention due to their capacity to produce freshwater from seawater or contaminated water by a straightforward utilisation of solar energy. The practical application of these materials, however, is restricted by their low evaporation efficiency and non-durable floating capacity on water. Herein, flexible and self-floating polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) based hybrid hydrogels for solar steam generation are designed and synthesized by assembling two types of functional particles within the network: conducting polymer hollow spheres (CPHSs) for achieving solar absorption and heat conversion, and silica aerogel microparticles for density reduction and efficient energy conversion confined to a small amount of surrounding water. Following a freezing process, functionalized hybrid hydrogels with macro-sized channels are generated, contributing to rapid water supply. The Janus surface nature, with one side being hydrophilic (contact angle ca. 60°) and another hydrophobic (contact angle up to 135°), of the hybrid hydrogel was found due to the formation of a gradient distribution of silica aerogel particles via controlling the gelation conditions. Consequently, the density of the hybrid hydrogels is controlled in the range of 0.8–1.0 g cm−3 and the thermal conductivity of the corresponding xerogels in the range of 0.030–0.035 W m−1 K−1, depending on the content of the silica aerogels. High water production of the hybrid hydrogel at a rate of 1.83 kg m−2 h−1 under 1 sun illumination has been demonstrated, which is an important step towards a cost-effective solution for the scarcity of clean water.

Type: Article
Title: Self-floating hybrid hydrogels assembled with conducting polymer hollow spheres and silica aerogel microparticles for solar steam generation
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1039/C8TA10057H
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1039/C8TA10057H
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci > Department of Surgical Biotechnology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10064838
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