American Chemical Society
am3c00302_si_001.pdf (1.26 MB)

Hygroscopic and Photothermal All-Polymer Foams for Efficient Atmospheric Water Harvesting, Passive Humidity Management, and Protective Packaging

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-02-08, 16:34 authored by Yuxuan Lin, Ke Shao, Shuai Li, Na Li, Shuxue Wang, Xiaochun Wu, Cui Guo, Liangmin Yu, Petri Murto, Xiaofeng Xu
Environmental humidity and thermal control are of primary importance for fighting global warming, growing energy consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions. Sorption-based atmospheric water harvesting is an emerging technology with great potential in clean water production and passive cooling applications. However, sorption-based humidity management and their hybrid applications are limited due to the lack of energywise designs of hygroscopic materials and devices. Herein, all polymeric 3D foams are developed and evaluated as hygroscopic and photothermal materials. The gas-foaming method generates closed-cell structures with interconnected hydrophilic networks and wrinkled surfaces, expanding hygroscopic, photothermal, and evaporating areas of the 3D foams. These unique advantages lead to efficient water vapor sorption in a wide broad relative humidity (RH) range of 50–90% and efficient water release in a wide solar intensity (0.4–1 sun) and temperature range (27–80 °C). The reversible moisture sorption/release in 50 adsorption/desorption cycles highlights the excellent durability of the 3D foams compared to conventional inorganic desiccants. The 3D foams disclose passive and efficient apparent temperature regulation in warm and humid environments. Moreover, the use of the 3D foams as loose fill for fruit preservation and packaging is demonstrated for the first time by taking the merit of the 3D foams’ moisture-absorbing, quick-drying, cushioning, and thermal-insulating properties. This work presents an integrated design of polymeric desiccants and scaffolds, not merely delivering stable water adsorption/desorption but also discovering innovative hybrid applications in humidity management and protective packaging.