Chinese scientists take inspiration from cobwebs to tackle freshwater scarcity-Xinhua

Chinese scientists take inspiration from cobwebs to tackle freshwater scarcity

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2022-05-11 23:02:16

BEIJING, May 11 (Xinhua) -- Inspired by a spider's web, material scientists in China have developed a kind of spindle-knotted microfibers that can efficiently harvest water.

Fog has the potential to be used as a freshwater source and address the concerns of global freshwater scarcity.

Scientists from Southwest Jiaotong University took notice of the unique periodic knot structure of natural spider silk that works to hang plentiful droplets, the China Science Daily reported Wednesday.

They then designed bioinspired spindle-knotted microfibers with continuous hollow channels, according to a study published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A.

Compared to that of solid spindle-knotted microfibers, the hollow ones have exhibited greater hanging ability, droplet growth rate and water collection efficiency.

Its maximum droplet volume is almost 1,663 times that of the ordinary microfiber knot, marking the largest volume ratio of droplet ever reported.

The unique hollow structure can add extra capillary force and offer longer lengths to the contact line for water collection behavior, thus enhancing the water collection ability, said Meng Tao, the paper's corresponding author.

The new microfiber can also be used to make bandage since it can efficiently absorb percolates from the wounds, said the researchers.