Nature-Inspired Materials for Water Sustainability Applications

T-S Wong
The Pennsylvania State University,
United States

Keywords: bio-inspired materials, slippery surfaces, water sustainability

Summary:

Water shortage is one of today’s most pressing global issues [1]. In 2016, 4 billion people in the world faced severe water scarcity [2]. With the growing world population, fresh water supply continues to be in high demand with typical consumption ranging from everyday household to industrial activities. In this talk, I will showcase a number of biologically inspired materials developed in our laboratory that can help efficiently acquire water from thin air, as well as reduce waste water generation from various industrial and household activities, such as toilet flushing [3,4]. Some of these bio-inspired materials may provide solutions to the global water sustainability issues in the 21st century, which are listed as one of the 14 “Grand Challenges” by the US National Academy of Engineering, as well as one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations (i.e., clean water and sanitation). References: [1] Eliasson, J. The rising pressure of global water shortages. Nature 517, 6-7 (2015). [2] Mekonnen, M. M. & Hoekstra, A. Y. Four billion people facing severe water scarcity. Science Advances 2, e1500323 (2016). [3] Dai, X., Sun, N., Nielsen, S.O., Stogin, B.B., Wang, J., Yang, S., Wong, T.-S. Hydrophilic directional slippery rough surfaces for water harvesting. Science Advances 4, eaaq0919 (2018). [4] Wang J., Wang, L., Sun, N., Tierney, R., Li, H., Corsetti, M., Williams, L., Wong, P.K., Wong, T.-S. Viscoelastic solid-repellent coatings for extreme water saving and global sanitation. Nature Sustainability 2, 1097-1105 (2019).