Light can evaporate water. At least that seems to be the case, according to a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The new study posits that light can cause the evaporation of water even without extra heat.
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Researchers uncovered the unexpected evaporation method while completing experiments where water was confined within a hydrogel. Researchers observed a rate of evaporation that was twice or even three times higher than the maximum theoretical value, despite not possessing the necessary thermal energy.
This led the researchers to discover that light can also power evaporation by interacting with the water’s surface and initiating evaporation. The researchers claim that the phenomenon is not dependent on heat and, while they conducted the experiment using hydrogels, it could also be applied to other situations.
But what does it mean exactly? The implications here are vast. For starters, researchers say that this kind of light-driven evaporation could help create better options for desalination, a process that relies on evaporating water to remove salt from it. That water then eventually turns back into condensation, creating clean water that can be drank.
Armed with this newfound knowledge, the researchers will undoubtedly want to learn more about how light drives water to evaporate without additional thermal heating. The implications of this technology are vast. It can be used in many different ways.
From the aforementioned desalination efforts to drying processes and even a possible new approach to solar cooling, being able to use and understand light-driven evaporation could be game-changing for scientists moving forward, especially since it could completely change our current climate change models as those haven’t been based on light-driven evaporation at this point.
Ultimately, we’re still a few years off from any of this, but it still leaves some interesting prospects out there for scientists to dig into.
The post Light can evaporate water without heat, new study claims appeared first on BGR.