A Microstructured Graphene/Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) Membrane for Intelligent Solar Water Evaporation

PP Zhang and F Liu and QH Liao and HZ Yao and HY Geng and HH Cheng and C Li and LT Qu, ANGEWANDTE CHEMIE-INTERNATIONAL EDITION, 57, 16343-16347 (2018).

DOI: 10.1002/anie.201810345

Intelligent solar water evaporation (iSWE) was achieved with a thermally responsive and microstructured graphene/poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (mG/PNIPAm) membrane. As the solar intensity varies, the water evaporation is tuned through reversible transformations of microstructures reminiscent of the stomatal opening and closing of leaves. Consequently, this mG/PNIPAm membrane displays a high water evaporation rate change (Delta WER) of 1.66 kg m(-2) h(-1) under weak sunlight (intensity < 1 sun) and a low WER of 0.24 kg m(-2) h(-1) under intense sunlight (1sun < intensity < 2 sun). Because of the double-layer structure with predictable shape and dynamics, the leaf-like membrane can further autonomously modulate the water evaporation by self-curling under intense solar irradiation in accordance with simulation results. This mG/PNIPAm membrane provides a smart material platform with self- adaptability in response to changing environments.

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