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Author ORCID ID is 0000000343058723
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  1. Sequential NanoFermentation (SNF) is a novel process which entails sparging microbially produced gas containing H 2S from a primary reactor through a concentrated metal-acetate solution contained in a secondary reactor, thereby precipitating metallic sulfide nanoparticles (e.g., ZnS, CuS, or SnS). SNF holds an advantage over single reactor nanoparticle synthesis strategies, because it avoids exposing the microorganisms to high concentrations of toxic metal and sulfide ions. Also, by segregating the nanoparticle products from biological materials, SNF avoids coating nanoparticles with bioproducts that alter their desired properties. Herein, we report the properties of ZnS nanoparticles formed from SNF as compared with onesmore » produced directly in a primary reactor (i.e., conventional NanoFermentation, or “CNF”), commercially available ZnS, and ZnS chemically synthesized by bubbling H 2S gas through a Zn-acetate solution. The ZnS nanoparticles produced by SNF provided improved optical properties due to their smaller crystallite size, smaller overall particle sizes, reduced biotic surface coatings, and reduced structural defects. Furthermore, SNF still maintained the advantages of NanoFermentation technology over chemical synthesis including scalability, reproducibility, and lower hazardous waste burden.« less
  2. In this paper, the anti-soiling (AS) performance of solar mirrors coated with a highly transparent, superhydrophobic nanoparticle-textured coating has been characterized. The AS coatings were created on the mirror surface by depositing nano-textured silica nanoparticle layers of ~250 nm thickness using a draw-down coating process, followed by fluorination of the nanoparticles in a molecular vapor deposition process. Highly uniform surface features of the AS-coated mirrors (20 × 30 cm 2, no measurable loss in specular reflectance, and water contact angle >165°) provided an outstanding AS performance. A 4× reduction in the rate of dust accumulation as determined by gravimetric measurementmore » of the accumulated dust on coated versus uncoated mirrors was observed. Additional evidence of a significant reduction in soiling rate was determined during measurements of specular reflectance in an outdoor environment test. The adhesion force between a model sand particle and nano-textured coatings in the hydrophobic to superhydrophobic range was also studied. A dramatic decrease in adhesive force acting on the particle was observed with increasing surface hydrophobicity. The results align well with the observed dust accumulation on the AS-coated mirrors. Finally, the AS-coated mirror maintains a high reflectivity by shedding dust and resisting dust accumulation, providing a potential benefit when applied to mirrors in the solar field of a concentrated solar power generation plant.« less
  3. Highly transparent, superhydrophobic nanoparticle-textured coatings with engineered surface roughness significantly decrease the adhesion force of dust particles on the surface, resulting in soil and dust repellent performance.
  4. One significant maintenance problem and cost associated with solar energy conversion systems is the soiling due to the accumulation of dust and other pollutants. Here in this work, we describe a scalable approach for applying antisoiling coatings based on superhydrophobic (SH) silica particles using a spray coating process. A large water contact angle (WCA) is one of the characteristics of excellent SH surfaces and because of the low surface energy and low adhesion forces the soiling rate is reduced. Our findings indicate that the WCA depends strongly on the ratio of the polymer binder and the nanoparticles. The nanoparticle surfacemore » coverage of the spray coated samples was substantially improved after rinsing with solvent. This process tended to remove large aggregates and excess polymer binder and further increased the WCA by allowing exposure of the functionalized nanoparticles. The durability of the SH coatings was enhanced when the substrate was pretreated with polymer binder and an optimal curing time between 30 and 60 min. The abrasion tests of the SH coatings we report in this study showed that the WCA decreased from ~ 166° to ~ 157° after exposure to 2.6 g of sand. Such coatings will help reduce costs of periodic cleaning of solar energy conversion systems (photovoltaic panels and concentrated solar mirrors).« less

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