Nanoparticles enable Solar Steam

Using fire to boil water has long been the preferred method for making steam. But now, thanks to specially coated nanoparticles of sand, we can use sunlight.

Researchers at Rice University in Texas made fine grains of sand, much smaller than the width of a human hair, and coated them in gold or carbon. They sprinkled these nanoparticles into water, and then focused sunlight on them. Each particle acted as a nano-sized boiler, absorbing the heat from the sunlight and turning surrounding water molecules from liquid to vapor. This solar steam was produced without having to boil the whole pot, in as quickly as five seconds…

Read the rest of the article and view the actual research paper here.


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