Atmospheric water is emerging as an important potable water source. The present work experimentally and theoretically investigates water condensation and collection on flat surfaces with contrasting contact angles and contact angle hysteresis (CAH) to elucidate their roles on water mass collection efficiency. The experimental results indicate that a hydrophilic surface promotes nucleation and individual droplets growth, and a surface with a low CAH tends to let a smaller droplet to slide down, but the overall water mass collection efficiency is independent of both surface contact angle and CAH. The experimental results agree well with our theoretical calculations. During water condensation, a balance has to be struck between single droplet growth and droplet density on a surface so as to maintain a constant water droplet surface coverage ratio, which renders the role of both surface wettability and hysteresis insignificant to the ultimate water mass collection. Moreover, water droplets on the edges of a surface grow much faster than those on the non-edge areas and thus dominate the contribution to the water mass collection by the entire surface, directly pointing out the very important role of edge effect on water condensation and collection.
Bibliographical noteKAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: The authors are grateful to KAUST for very generous financial support.