The major challenges in harvesting atmospheric water are controlling the size of the droplets, speed in which they form and the direction in which they flow. The idea is borrowed from a beetle that lives in the desert and is able to keep itself alive by trapping water on its body, the Namib or Darkling beetle. Some of these construct sand trenches or ridges to catch the fog, while Onymacris unguicularis and O. bicolor instead utilise their own body surface as a fog water collector [ 7 – 9 ]. It is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. Kyoo-Chul Park, Philseok Kim, Alison Grinthal, Neil He, David Fox, James C. Weaver, Joanna Aizenberg. Note: Content may be edited for style and length. Have any problems using the site? Well-known examples include dew harvesting by New- and Old World desert lizards and fog-droplet collection by several beetle species in the Namib Desert. The new system, described in Nature, is inspired by the bumpy shell of desert beetles, the asymmetric structure of cactus spines and slippery surfaces of pitcher plants. “The Namib Desert has a remarkably high variety of Darkling beetles (Tenebrionidae) and a handful of them actively exploit fog for water intake [5,6]. It performs headstands in a desert; now this beetle is teaching us how to collect water. ScienceDirect ® is a registered trademark of Elsevier B.V. ScienceDirect ® is a registered trademark of Elsevier B.V. Namib desert beetle inspired special patterned fabric with programmable and gradient wettability for efficient fog harvesting, Journal of Materials Science & Technology, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmst.2020.05.054. The Namib desert beetle, for example, collects water droplets on the bumps of its shell while V-shaped cactus spines guide droplets to the plant's body. Compared with the conventional fog collector with a plane structure, the fabric has shown a higher water-harvesting rate at 1432.7 mg/h/cm2, owing to the biomimetic three-dimensional structure, its enhanced condensation performance enabled by the copper coating and the rational distribution of wetting units. Risk of Advanced Cancers: Evolution to Blame? (#)Contributed equally BACKGROUND: In the Namib Desert fog represents an alternative water source. - Also, if you don't like crowds, driving behind "clouds of dust you can hardly see through", or being anywhere that you feel is too touristy, maybe go in the off season. Download : Download high-res image (104KB)Download : Download full-size image. - Appreciate silence, and desolation, and stark beauty; there's no place quite like the Namib Desert. In 2001, Parker and Lawrence first discovered that Namib desert beetle captures water by using its complementary superhydrophobic-superhydrophilic skeleton on the back. The Namib Desert has a remarkably high variety of Darkling beetles (Tenebrionidae) and a handful of them actively exploit fog for water intake [ 5, 6 ]. In this harsh conditions the Namib Desert beetle has evolved to be a skilled fog water collector, so skilled that is now a guide and an inspiration source for many new inventions. Inspired by Namib Desert beetles, scientists designed biomimetic fog collection materials to obtain fresh water. University of Lund. Abstract and Figures In the Namib Desert fog represents an alternative water source. Some species of Darkling Beetles live in the dry Namib desert and have evolved modification that help them collect water from the fog that condenses on their elytra. Materials provided by Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. How a desert beetle make self filling water bottles possible Every morning in Namib Desert, an ingenious little beetle, slowly climb up to the highest dooms of the plain. This research was supported by the Department of Energy. The Namib Desert beetle photographed by University of Oxford researcher Andrew Parker, whose team first worked out in 2001 how the beetle captures water from the air. Device Pulls Water from Dry Air, Powered Only by the Sun. Then it put its back to the cold breeze to collect the life giving liquid: water. Organisms such as cacti and desert beetles can survive in arid environments because they've evolved mechanisms to collect water from thin air. ScienceDaily shares links with sites in the. Every day, the beetle climbs to the top of a sand dune and puts its back to the wind and is able to collect 12% of its body weight in water from the moisture in the air. "We experimentally found that the geometry of bumps alone could facilitate condensation," said Kyoo-Chul Park, a postdoctoral researcher and the first author of the paper. Content on this website is for information only. Water collecting devices of desert beetles, cacti and grass. Shortage of water resources and deterioration of water quality are becoming more and more serious today. The Namib Desert beetle harvests moisture from the air to survive A US start-up has turned to nature to help bring water to arid areas by drawing moisture from the … By continuing you agree to the use of cookies. The researchers got their inspiration after reading a 2001 article in Nature describing the Namib Desert beetle's moisture-collection strategy. Occasional fog is a critical water source utilised by plants and animals in the Namib Desert. Book your tickets online for Namib Desert, Sossusvlei: See 329 reviews, articles, and 517 photos of Namib Desert, ranked No.1 on Tripadvisor among 11 attractions in Sossusvlei. The Namib Desert Beetle has a neat trick for slaking its thirst in desert conditions. For years, researchers focused on the hybrid chemistry of the beetle's bumps -- a hydrophilic top with hydrophobic surroundings -- to explain how the beetle attracted water. The beetles’ construction enables it to survive by collecting water on its bumpy back surface from the early morning fog. A Namib Desert beetle is often cited as bioinspiration for further advancement, in a narrative which focuses on patterned wettability of its bumpy elytra as a means of transporting accumulated water from its back to its mouth. Now, a team of researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have drawn inspiration from these organisms to develop a better way to promote and transport condensed water droplets. ScienceDaily, 24 February 2016. In this work, a flexible and highly efficient fog collector was prepared by mimicking the back exoskeleton structure of the Namib desert beetle. Sölvegatan 35, S-22362 Lund, Sweden. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader: Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks: Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. When the Namib Desert beetle (Stenocara gracilipes) “fog basks,” water droplets hit its abdomen and roll down its body. Namib desert beetles live in an area with little ground water, so how is it that they have no trouble finding H2O? "By optimizing that bump shape through detailed theoretical modeling and combining it with the asymmetry of cactus spines and the nearly friction-free coatings of pitcher plants, we were able to design a material that can collect and transport a greater volume of water in a short time compared to other surfaces.". (4−7) In several of these cases, the unique way in which water is harvested from the environment is enabled by highly specialized epidermal surface characteristics of the animal’s body. Researchers have spent decades trying to … (B) Liquid-repelling ability of Nepenthes pitcher … As the planet grows drier, researchers are looking to nature for more effective ways to pull water from air. The Namib Desert beetle survives by collecting moisture from the air. It covers a vast area along the Atlantic Ocean. Nørgaard T(#)(1), Dacke M(#)(1). Biological creatures with unique surface wettability have long served as a source of inspiration for scientists and engineers. The material harnesses the power of these natural systems, plus Slippery Liquid-Infused Porous Surfaces technology (SLIPS) developed in Aizenberg's lab, to collect and direct the flow of condensed water droplets. Warka Water is covered in a mesh fabric with a special coating that allows water collection. Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Efficient collection of water from fog provides a potential solution to solve the global freshwater shortage problem, particularly in the desert or arid regions. (2016, February 24). In the blazing heat of the Namib Desert, the water droplets on a beetle’s bumpy back certainly aren’t at risk of freezing. "This research is an exciting first step towards developing a passive system that can efficiently collect water and guide it to a reservoir," said Kim. Planet Nine-Like Exoplanet Around Distant Star, Rapid Genomics Strategy to Trace Coronavirus, New Superhighway System in the Solar System, Sifting Out the First Gravitational Waves, Neanderthals Buried Their Dead: New Evidence, Spiders in Space: Making Webs Without Gravity, Science of Sandcastles Is Clarified, Finally. "Pulling water from thin air: Inspired by a desert beetle, cactus and pitcher plant, researchers design a new material to collect water droplets." www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160224150731.htm (accessed December 12, 2020). The Namib Desert Beetle was the inspiration for starting the company. More specifically, certain beetle species in the Namib Desert have evolved to collect water from fog on their backs by way of wettability patterns, which attracted an ongoing interest in biomimetic studies. Questions? However, Aizenberg and her team took inspiration from a different possibility -- that convex bumps themselves also might be able to harvest water. The beetle, endemic to Africa's Namib desert—where there is just 1.3cm of rainfall a year—has inspired a fair few proof-of-concepts in the academic community, but this is … The device construction makes use of the widely available textile materials through mature manufacturing technology, which makes it highly suitable for large-scale industrial production. The Namib desert beetle, for example, collects water droplets on the bumps of its shell while V-shaped cactus spines guide droplets to the plant's body. Every morning when the fog is relatively dense, the fog droplets are condensed on the hydrophilic area of the desert beetle back and then roll along the waxy hydrophobic crevices until falling down to beetle’s mouth [ 24 ]. Our research shows that a complex bio-inspired approach, in which we marry multiple biological species to come up with non-trivial designs for highly efficient materials with unprecedented properties, is a new, promising direction in biomimetics.". Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily, its staff, its contributors, or its partners. Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. (A) Water collection ability of Namib desert beetles, which relies on hydrophilic bumps and hydrophobic substrates on their backs. Original written by Leah Burrows. Fog-basking behaviour and water collection efficiency in Namib Desert Darkling beetles. We use cookies to help provide and enhance our service and tailor content and ads. . The overview of this field is limited and … "Thermal power plants, for example, rely on condensers to quickly convert steam to liquid water," said Philseok Kim, co-author of the paper and co-founder and vice president of technology at SEAS spin-off SLIPS Technologies, Inc. "This design could help speed up that process and even allow for operation at a higher temperature, significantly improving the overall energy efficiency.". Will Raindrops Stick to a Spider Web's Threads? Namib Desert: World wonder - See 329 traveler reviews, 517 candid photos, and great deals for Sossusvlei, Namibia, at Tripadvisor. Scientists had already learned to copy the water-repellent lotus leaf, and the desert beetle shell seemed like another good candidate for "bio-mimicry." Water is a scarce commodity in dry regions so scientists have come up with an ingenious way of collecting water from fog to provide relief to people living in these areas. 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Fog basking beetles (Onymacris unguicularis, Tenebrionidae) and Namib dune bushman grass (Stipagrostris sabulicola, Poaceae) collect water directly from the fog. "Without one of those parameters, the whole system would not work synergistically to promote both the growth and accelerated directional transport of even small, fast condensing droplets," said Park. "Pulling water from thin air: Inspired by a desert beetle, cactus and pitcher plant, researchers design a new material to collect water droplets." The improved fog collector was constructed by a superhydrophobic-superhydrophilic patterned fabric via a simple weaving method, followed by in-situ deposition of copper particles. Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The Namib Desert is located in the southwestern part … This is one of the most arid areas of the world, receiving only 1.4 centimetres (0.55 in) of rain per year. "However, so far, we tend to mimic one inspirational natural system at a time. But their water-collecting tricks just might help engineers design surfaces that can stay free of ice and frost in colder places. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier B.V. or its licensors or contributors. While the beetles position themselves optimally for fog water collection on dune ridges, the grass occurs predominantly at the … Some of these construct sand trenches or ridges to catch the fog, while Onymacris unguicularis and O. bicolor instead utilise their own body surface as a fog water collector [7-9]. ScienceDaily. Stenocara gracilipes is a species of beetle that is native to the Namib Desert in southern Africa. This approach is promising not only for harvesting water but also for industrial heat exchangers. The Stenocara beetle survives in one of the most arid places in the world – the Namib Desert … The fog-basking behavior of the Onymacris unguicularis, a beetle species living in the coastal regions of the Namibian desert, has recently caught the attention of the engineering community, as suggesting a viable biomimetic approach to address the problem of harvesting water in arid regions of the globe. Author information: (1)Department of Biology. Namib Desert beetles have been well known for their hydrophobic-hydrophilic patterned dorsal backs to collect water from the harsh environment, where water was captured on hydrophilic areas and then transported to the hydrophobic area for water supply for beetles' survival. Pulling water from thin air: Inspired by a desert beetle, cactus and pitcher plant, researchers design a new material to collect water droplets. Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. As … When droplets form on … By adopting a head standing posture facing into the wind, the fog water … "Everybody is excited about bioinspired materials research," said Joanna Aizenberg, the Amy Smith Berylson Professor of Materials Science at SEAS and core faculty member of the Wyss Institute.