I was wondering if certain factors of water vapor condensation can be aided? For example, being able to increase the saturation of water vapor via a certain method, or another example would be having a cool surface for it condense on. What aids are there for condensation in normal air conditions (think indoor conditions or outdoor california conditions)?


A cooled surface is your best bet. Pressure-related phenomena are also a valid choice (basically, anything that changes the properties of the air-vapour mixture into conditions above saturation is fine), or combination of both.

A cooled surface must have high thermal conductivity to drain the excess latent heat that is emitted during condensation (metal is a good choice), and it's a good idea to drain the water as well, so that the cooling doesn't have to cool the water further -- it has high thermal capacity. Micropatterning of the surface can help to collect water into droplets quickly, and drain it away. Surface tension also helps: if the surface is water-loving (good wetting), this can lower the vapour pressure required to achieve condensation. This is amplified by micro-patterning to create many places where high-curvature meniscus forms... read up on capillary condensation (Capillary condensation). That's how nature does it: Namib Desert beetle. Also, people follow their example: Fog collectors harvesting water from thin air

In conclusion... with a mesh-like microstructure made of material with appropriate surface tension with water, you can condense even without cooling. With additional cooling and efficient draining of collected water, it gets even better. A metallic-fibre, surface-treated for better wetting, woven into a fine fabric, would be a fine choice.

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