Hydrogel tablet can purify a liter of water in an hour
Finding a solution to access to clean drinking water could save and improve lives for millions of people, and it is a high priority among scientists and engineers around the globe.
Scientists have created a hydrogel tablet that can rapidly purify contaminated water. One tablet can disinfect a litre of river water and make it suitable for drinking in an hour or less.
Their multifunctional hydrogel can make a big difference in mitigating global water scarcity because it is easy to use, highly efficient and potentially scalable up to mass production.
The special hydrogels generate Hydrogen peroxide to neutralize bacteria at an efficiency rate of more than 99.999%. The Hydrogen peroxide works with activated Carbon particles to attack essential cell components of bacteria and disrupt their metabolism. The process requires zero energy input and doesn't create harmful by-products.
Materials for making the hydrogels are inexpensive, and the synthesis processes are simple and remain that way at large scales. And they can easily control the shape and size of the hydrogels, making them flexible for different types of uses.
Hydrogels could also improve a process solar distillation, because solar distillation systems often run into issues of biofouling, the accumulation of microorganisms on equipment that causes it to malfunction. The bacteria-killing hydrogels can prevent this from happening.
The team is working to improve the hydrogels by increasing the different types of pathogens and viruses in water that they can neutralize.