Recent climate changes cause regular dust storms and dust settlements over surfaces have adverse effects on energy harvesting devices such as photovoltaic panels. In this case, the device efficiency and outpower degrade with time and, in some cases, regaining device performance becomes challenging. Although several methods have been proposed for cleaning the dusty surfaces, the cost-effective method of dust mitigation from the surfaces becomes challenging. One of the cost-effective methods is the self-cleaning of dusty surfaces. Since the dust particles vary in size and chemical composition, the adhesion force created between the dust particle and the surface changes with the type of the particle. To reduce the adhesion force between the dust particle and the surface, surface texturing at micro/nanoscale becomes favorable; in which case, the contact area between the particle and surface becomes small. Moreover, lowering the free energy of the contacting surface contributes to the reduction of the adhesion force. Hence, surface topology and free energy become critically important for minimizing adhesion force between the dust particles and the settled surface. This arrangement gives rise to the hydrophobic texture characteristics over the surface. In addition, liquid droplet adhesion over such surfaces becomes considerably small and droplet motion changes from sliding to rolling over the surface. In the present study, dust mitigation from optically transparent surfaces is considered via using rolling water droplets. The physical and chemical properties of the environmental dust are examined and the dust mitigation processes by the rolling droplets over the hydrophobic surfaces are investigated. The glass surfaces are hydrophobized through the deposition of functionalized silica particles. Since the internal fluidity of droplet fluid remains important for dust mitigation, thermal analysis is carried out including heat transfer within the droplet fluid and across the hydrophobic film. 3 and 2D dimensional formulations are considered for heat transfer analysis inside the droplet fluid. Since the hydrophobic film thickness is in micro-size, microscale heat transport analysis incorporating the phonon transport is carried to determine the amount of heat transferred across the hydrophobic film. The droplet motion on the inclined hydrophobic surface is evaluated using the high-speed camera. The pinning and retarding forces associated with the rolling water droplet are formulated and computed using the experimental data. The assessment of the environmental impact of the hydrophobizing process is evaluated via Life Cycle Assessment
|Effective start/end date
|1/07/21 → 1/01/23
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