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Core/Shell Microstructure Induced Synergistic Effect for Efficient Water-Droplet Formation and Cloud-Seeding Application

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posted on 17.11.2017, 00:00 by Yanlong Tai, Haoran Liang, Abdelali Zaki, Nabil El Hadri, Ali M. Abshaev, Buzgigit M. Huchunaev, Steve Griffiths, Mustapha Jouiad, Linda Zou
Cloud-seeding materials as a promising water-augmentation technology have drawn more attention recently. We designed and synthesized a type of core/shell NaCl/TiO2 (CSNT) particle with controlled particle size, which successfully adsorbed more water vapor (∼295 times at low relative humidity, 20% RH) than that of pure NaCl, deliquesced at a lower environmental RH of 62–66% than the hygroscopic point (hg.p., 75% RH) of NaCl, and formed larger water droplets ∼6–10 times its original measured size area, whereas the pure NaCl still remained as a crystal at the same conditions. The enhanced performance was attributed to the synergistic effect of the hydrophilic TiO2 shell and hygroscopic NaCl core microstructure, which attracted a large amount of water vapor and turned it into a liquid faster. Moreover, the critical particle size of the CSNT particles (0.4–10 μm) as cloud-seeding materials was predicted via the classical Kelvin equation based on their surface hydrophilicity. Finally, the benefits of CSNT particles for cloud-seeding applications were determined visually through in situ observation under an environmental scanning electron microscope on the microscale and cloud chamber experiments on the macroscale, respectively. These excellent and consistent performances positively confirmed that CSNT particles could be promising cloud-seeding materials.