Y. Jin, J. Chang, Y. Shi, L. Shi, S. Hong, P. Wang
Journal of Materials Chemistry A, (2018)
Solar-driven water evaporation is emerging as a promising solar-energy utilization process. In the present work, highly stable, flexible and washable nonwoven photothermal cloth is prepared by electrospinning for efficient and durable solar steam evaporation. The cloth is composed of polymeric nanofibers as matrix and inorganic carbon black nanoparticles encapsulated inside the matrix as light absorbing component. The photothermal cloth with an optimized carbon loading shows a desirable underwater black property, absorbing 94% of the solar spectrum and giving rise to a state-of-the-art solar energy utilization efficiency of 83% during pure water evaporation process. Owing to its compositions and special structural design, the cloth possesses anti-photothermal-component-loss property and is highly flexible and mechanically strong, chemically stable in various harsh environment such as strong acid, alkaline, organic solvent and salty water. It can be hand-washed for more than 100 times without degrading its performance and thus offers a potential mechanism for foulant cleaning during practical solar steam generation and distillation processes. The results of this work stimulate more research in durable photothermal materials aiming at real world applications.