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In arid areas, clean flowing water is always in short supply. However, once temperatures cool at night, mists and fogs nourish plant and animal life. Inspired by species of beetles and spiders that have adapted to gather droplets from the air, a team from the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) have developed a cotton fabric coated with a special polymer that collects and retains moisture. The team, who will publish their results in the journal, Advanced Materials later this month, found that with the coating the fabric was able to absorb 340% of its own weight as compared to 18% without the polymer. Up to 93 degrees Fahrenheit, the material strongly attracts water. Once above that threshold, the microstructure changes, becoming completely closed and releasing pure water wherever it is placed.