Quote:Joel Pawlak, an associate professor of forest biomaterials at North Carolina State University, has developed a material similar to foam rubber that absorbs water and attaches to molecules dissolved in it, leaving pure and potable water behind.Just in the proverbial nick of time for the latest disaster. I know what company I will be investing in
The material is a combination of hemicellulose and chitosan. The first comes from wood and is extracted by the ton in the paper-making process. Chitosan is extracted from ordinary crustacean shells - primarily crab, shrimp and lobster - by treatment with hydrochloric acid and then sodium hydroxide.
Mixing the two together creates the foam-like substance, a polymer. The polymer has a lot of positively and negatively charged atoms on the surface, and those charges attract ions in the water. Since they are both positive and negative, there is a wide variety of ions it will stick to.
Thus far the polymer has been tested on potassium iodide, sodium iodide, cadmium, lead and arsenic and salt.
Pawlak notes that while the polymer hasn't been tested on radioactive iodine-131, which is the major contaminant in radioactive water at the nuclear power stations in Fukushima, Japan. But assuming radioactive iodine behaves similarly to the non-radioactive type, there is every reason to believe it will work.
The ability to absorb arsenic also makes this material different - most filters have a tough time removing it from water. This one doesn't.
Read it all here:ibtimes.com
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