Investigation of Radiative Cooling Using a Photonic Composite Material for Water Harvesting


1 School of Mechanical and Building Sciences, VIT University, Chennai, India

2 School of Engineering Technology, Jain University, Bangalore, India


The objective of this study is to design and analyse materials which are capable of harvesting water from thin air using condensation phenomenon which employs the radiative cooling approach. These passive cooling materials not only solve the water generating problems, but also employed in various cooling applications. The fundamental concept of radiative cooling is analysed and the performance parameters were identified to test the passive cooling ability of the designed material for water harvesting. The field of Photonics is studied which has the potential to obtain the surface temperature significantly lower than the atmospheric temperature by radiation phenomenon. Important parameters are identified to validate the performance of the proposed materials. ANSYS FLUENT is used to analyse the surface temperature for the given boundary conditions and the potential material which is capable of obtaining a significant temperature difference with respect to the ambient temperature is identified. A sandwich material is designed and its performance is evaluated using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) by which we could achieve temperature difference of 15°C. To reduce the heat gain losses by conduction and convection, we designed a physical system which could maintain significant temperature difference even in the broad day-sunlight. CFD analysis of the designed system under similar boundary conditions gave satisfying results of maintaining the temperature difference of about 15°C for a prolonged period of time due to minimal heat gain losses. Later, two potential materials are manufactured and the performance parameters of these materials are characterized using U-V/Vis (Ultraviolet-Visible) and FTIR (Fourier Transform Infrared) Spectroscopy experiments. The results of absorption phenomenon in the U-V/Vis spectrum and the transmittance phenomenon in the FTIR spectrum of the two materials explain the reason for the passive cooling ability of materials.


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