Scientists Have Developed Low-Cost Sponge Which Can Absorb Drinking Water From Air
Researchers have been working on atmospheric water harvesting (AWH), a concept in which water can be provided anywhere in the world, pulling it right out of the air.
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A group of scientists from China has developed a low-cost, high-tech sponge that can suck drinking water out of the air, the South China Morning Post reported.
The material can be used any time of the day, anywhere, for atmospheric water harvesting (AWH), and scientists have claimed this could be efficient in the "context of global water shortage."
The innovation team is headed by scientist Tian Ye, an associate professor with Northeastern University in Liaoning.
The study published in the peer-reviewed journal ACS earlier this month reads: "We employed an innovative strategy of pore foaming and vacuum drying to fabricate a macroporous hydrogel rationally. The hydrogel is endowed with a macroporous structure and a high specific surface area, enabling sufficient contact of the inner sorbent with outside air and high-performance AWH."
According to the website, 1 kg of the high-tech material can soak up to 2.5 kg of water in a day outdoors, a quantity that can fulfill the minimum water requirement of a person.
Lyu Tong, the paper's first author, said the "unexpected innovation was made by accident."
"I was trying to replace the calcium chloride (CaCl2) with lithium chloride (LiCl) in preparation of hydrogel to check what happens. Lithium chloride droplets inside the hydrogel stay unfrozen under minus 70 degrees Celsius. When it is put into a vacuum system, bubbles inside the droplets burst and create the macroporous structure," Tong told the SCMP.