The water crisis affects the lives of millions over the world. Minimizing water losses in major water-consuming industries like power plants is of utmost importance. Since cooling towers lead to huge amounts of water loss, implementing modifications for recovering a fraction of this lost water in the exhaust has been a topic of active research. These modifications are often inspired by biological species, especially in arid regions, which have adapted in different ways by collecting water from fog, and hence biomimetic has become popular for water harvesting techniques. We revisit the fog collection technique most commonly used in nature and compare the relative merits of the same with surface texture and wettability. Arrays of spines of three different configurations were considered in this study — namely cuboidal, cylindrical and conical shapes. A theoretical model is developed to carry out a comparative analysis of these configurations considered. The effects of Laplace pressure gradient, gravity, topography and tilt angle on droplet transportation along the spines were explored to decipher the most efficient water transport and collection route. The observations are explained by performing extensive Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations to bring out the interplay of surface tension and roughness at the contact line verifying the proposed formulations. The conical-shaped spines exhibited maximum transport and collection efficiency for zero tilt angle. Both cuboidal and cylindrical shaped spines showed little or no water collection when the spines are oriented horizontally. This is due to the Laplace pressure gradient which arises from varying radii of curvature of the conical shaped spine which drives the water droplets towards the base but is absent for the other two cases considered. On the contrary, when there is some finite tilt angle, the contribution of gravity comes into consideration and the water collection rate of the conical and cylindrical spines becomes comparable. Both Laplace pressure gradient and gravity help in water transport in the conical case whereas only gravity assists the water transport process for cylindrical spines. Still, the water collection rate is almost the same for these two scenarios due to enhanced coalescence of liquid droplets for the cylindrical case as is observed from MD simulations. As the droplets coalesce, they get larger and gravity aids the transport process by overcoming the solid-liquid interaction strength. Cuboidal shaped spines show the least efficiency with only gravity to assist the transport process and no coalescence is observed in this case. Moreover, the geometrical disparity makes the tips of conical spines more hydrophobic compared to the others which further ameliorates the water collection efficiency.

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