Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Materials Science and Engineering

First Advisor

Franck Vernerey

Second Advisor

Yunping Xi

Third Advisor

Rong Long

Abstract

Secure access to water is a growing problem in the world today. Millions of people do not have contact with fresh or clean water for drinking. Consuming dirty water leads to many illnesses and deaths every year. When water is scarce people are less likely to follow basic hygiene which also adds to the problem of sickness from water. Currently most of the population gets their water from run-off such as rivers, lakes and other fresh water bodies. Aquafers can also provide water, however, once they do not replenish themselves so once they are empty they will no longer provide a fresh water source.

This is a serious problem because the population has grown to 7 billion people and only 2% of the world’s water is fresh water. Of this, most the fresh water is locked in the polar ice caps. This leaves only .77% of the available fresh water accessible for human use. While wealthy countries may not feel this burden due to their infrastructure. Impoverish countries will feel the full burden of a lack of water. This has led to a growing number of water conflicts over the years some of which have resulted in human deaths.

There are several ways that people can collect water from the atmosphere such as collecting rain water or using a solar still to evaporate water out of an undrinkable source. In parts of the world where fog is prevalent, meshes have been used to collect the moisture from the air. However, these systems only work where the environment allows for it. In some places in the world, the only amount of water may come from morning dew. Certain places receive more water from morning dew than they do from annual precipitation.

By studying nature, a novel water collection device was developed, tested and modeled. The model is compared to the test data to see the ways in which the device can be optimized. This could be used to help alleviate the growing problems of water shortages in specific parts of the world. The model and device design shows promising data but still has room for improvement. Potential changes for improved performance are explored.

Share

COinS