Self-Floating Carbon Nanotube Membrane on Macroporous Silica Substrate for Highly Efficient Solar-Driven Interfacial Water Evaporation

Yuchao Wang, Lianbin Zhang, Peng Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

446 Citations (Scopus)


Given the emerging energy and water challenges facing mankind, solar-driven water evaporation has been gaining renewed research attention from both academia and industry as an energy-efficient means of wastewater treatment and clean water production. In this project, a bilayered material, consisting of a top self-floating hydrophobic CNT membrane and a bottom hydrophilic macroporous silica substrate, was logically designed and fabricated for highly energy-efficient solar-driven water evaporation based on the concept of interfacial heating. The top thin CNT membrane with excellent light adsorption capability acted as photothermal component, which harvested and converted almost the entire incident light to heat for exclusive heating of interfacial water. On the other hand, the macroporous silica substrate provided multifunctions toward further improvement of operation stability and water evaporation performance of the material, including water pumping, mechanical support, and heat barriers. The silica substrate was conducive in forming the rough surface structures of the CNT top layers during vacuum filtration and thus indirectly contributed to high light adsorption by the top CNT layers. With optimized thicknesses of the CNT top layer and silica substrate, a solar thermal conversion efficiency of 82% was achieved in this study. The bilayered material also showed great performance toward water evaporation from seawater and contaminated water, realizing the separation of water from pollutants and indicating its application versatility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1223-1230
Number of pages8
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Carbon nanotube
  • Heat barrier
  • Interfacial heating
  • Photothermal
  • Solar evaporation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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