Science News

Harvesting Fog to Feed Deserts

Sun, 11th Nov 2001

Part of the show How Drugs Affect the Body

Scientists have come up with a novel way to produce water in a desert by copying a beetle that can harvest fog. The key to the beetle's success is a bumpy back. - it's made of microscopic peaks and troughs. When a sea breeze blows, the beetle leans into the wind making tiny water droplets build up on the peaks. These eventually form drops big enough to roll into the beetle's mouth-parts. A Farnborough based company called QinetiQ (pron. Kinetic) has designed a material which works along the same lines as the beetles back. Water forms on it when it is sprayed with a fine mist. Sheets of this material draped over rooftops could be the perfect way to collect water in deserts where rain hardly ever falls. For further details, see news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_1628000/1628477.stm

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