Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, Vol.584, 602-609, 2021
Facile preparation of polydimethylsiloxane/carbon nanotubes modified melamine solar evaporators for efficient steam generation and desalination
Solar driven interfacial evaporation has received extensive attention as a very promising desalination technique to solve the fresh water shortage crisis. However, salt-fouling and poor stability during long-term solar desalination seriously hinder applications of solar evaporators. In addition, most of the reported evaporators rely on expensive materials and complex preparation processes. Here, we report facile preparation of polydimethylsiloxane/carbon nanotubes (PDMS/CNTs) modified melamine solar evaporators for efficient steam generation and desalination. The elastic solar evaporators feature (i) macroporous network with rough skeleton owing to phase separation of PDMS, high solar absorbance (99%) and excellent photothermal performance, low thermal conductivity (0.032 W m(-1) K-1), and (iii) unique wettability (hydrophobic upper surface and hydrophilic lower part). Consequently, the evaporators have an evaporation rate of 1.44 kg m(-2) h(-1) and a solar-to-vapor conversion efficiency of 84% for solar evaporation of deionized water under 1 sun illumination. Interestingly, the evaporators show similar solar evaporation performance for saline water compared to deionized water. Moreover, the evaporators show excellent salt-resistance and stability during long-term continuous solar desalination owing to rapid water replenishment in the evaporators. The evaporators may find practical applications in solar desalination because of the merits of the evaporators and the simple preparation method. (C) 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.