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Transparent superhydrophobic surfaces using a spray coating process

Publication Type
Journal Name
Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells
Publication Date
Page Numbers
405 to 410

One significant maintenance problem and cost associated with solar energy conversion systems is the soiling due to the accumulation of dust and other pollutants. In this work, we describe a scalable approach for applying antisoiling properties based on superhydrophobic (SH) silica particles using a spray coating process. Large WCA are characteristics of excellent SH surfaces SH coatings have low surface energy and low adhesion forces which helps reduce the soiling rate. Our findings indicate that the WCA depends strongly on the ratio of the polymer binder and the nanoparticles. The nanoparticle surface 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 with an optimal curing time between 30 and 60 minutes. The abrasion tests of the SH coatings developed in this study showed that for an equivalent 10- year sand exposure the WCA decreased from ~ 166o to ~ 157o. Such coatings will help reduce costs of periodic cleaning of solar energy conversion systems (photovoltaic panels and concentrated solar mirrors).