Technology 3 min read

A Rose-Inspired Solar Steaming Method For Efficient Water Purification

Peggychoucair / Pixabay

Peggychoucair / Pixabay

A rose-inspired solar steaming technique could change how we purify water.

Across different cultures, the rose has always been an iconic symbol of beauty, romance, love, and perfection. But, according to a recent paper published in the journal Advanced Materials, the flower may hold more than a symbolic value.

The paper revealed how an origami rose inspired the researchers at the University of Texas, Austin to develop a device for collecting and purifying water. Unlike the current method, the rose-inspired water purification system is cheaper and more efficient.

How does it work, you wonder?

Using an Origami Rose In Solar Steaming

Solar steaming is a purification technique that separates salts and other impurities through evaporation, using the energy from sunlight.

Several past attempts have focused on making the process cost-effective. While most of these ventures were relatively successful, the rose-inspired solar steaming method may be the most efficient yet.

In a statement, associate professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering, Donglei Fan said:

“We were searching for more efficient ways to apply the solar-steaming technique for water production by using black filtered paper coated with a special type of polymer, known as polypyrrole.”

Polypyrrole is known for its photothermal properties. Not only is it an excellent way to convert solar light into heat, but it’s cost-efficient too.

So, Fan and her team explored the numerous ways to shape the paper to attain optimal water retention levels during solar steaming. After toying with various arrangements, Fan had an idea to create a flower-like shaped device.

For this, the researcher noted the rose to be ideal. The rose flower has a structure which exposes the photothermic material to direct sunlight.

Aside from providing more internal reflection, the floral shape also has an enlarged surface area. That way, water vapor can dissipate from the material efficiently.

How the Rose-Inspired Solar Steaming Device Works

The researchers equipped the device with a stem-like tube, which could serve as a water passage to the flower-shaped structure. Also, the tube can also help collect raindrops from above.

The water then makes its way to the petals, where it turns to steam – due to the polypyrrole material coating. That way, the impurities naturally separate from water.

Speaking on the project, a Ph.D. candidate in Fan’s lab and lead author on the paper, Weigu Li said:

“We designed the purification-collection unisystem to include a connection point for a low-pressure pump to help condense the Water more effectively. Once it is condensed, the glass jar is designed to be compact, sturdy, and secure for storing clean Water.”

According to the researcher, the device removes all form of contamination. These include heavy metals and bacteria. It’s also an efficient way to separate salt from seawater.

In the end, you’ll have clean water that meets the World Health Organization’s drinking standard requirements.

“Our rational design and low-cost fabrication of 3D origami photothermal materials represent a first-of-its-kind portable low-pressure solar-steaming-collection system,” Li said.

The researcher hopes that the rose-inspired purification system could inspire new paradigms of solar-steaming technologies for producing clean Water.

Read More: New Research: Fracking With CO2 Instead Of Water Is Greener

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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