Owing to recent climate changes, dust storms are increasingly common, particularly in the Middle East region. Dust accumulation and subsequent mud formation on solid surfaces in humid environments typically have adverse effects on surface properties such as optical transmittance, surface texture, and microhardness. This is usually because the mud, which contains alkaline and ionic species, adheres strongly to the surface, often through chemical bonds, and is therefore difficult to remove. In this study, environmental dust and the after-effects of mud formed on a polycarbonate sheet, which is commonly used as a protective glass in photovoltaic cells. Ionic compounds (OH) are shown to significantly affect the optical, mechanical, and textural characteristics of the polycarbonate surface, and to increase the adhesion work required to remove the dry mud from the polycarbonate surface upon drying. Such ability to modify characteristics of the polycarbonate surface could address the dust/mud-related limitations of superhydrophobic surfaces.

Paper: Bekir Sami. Yilbas, Haider Ali, Naseer Al-Aqeeli, Mazen M. Khaled, Syed Said, Numan Abu-Dheir, Necar Merah, Kamal Youcef-Toumi & Kripa K. Varanasi, Scientific Reports

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