World’s Most Efficient Water Absorber Created

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Mop it Up

According to a report in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers from the University of Uppsala, Sweden have created a material which is the most efficient absorber of water. The material was produced accidently by scientists.

The material is an elusive white, dry, powdered form of magnesium carbonate (MgCO3). Its single gram has an extraordinarily large surface area of 800 square metres supported by numerous miniscule pores, each a million times smaller than the width of a human hair. The journey though was not easy, as researchers had failed many times, before they changed the synthesis parameters and left the material by mistake in the reaction chamber over the weekend. When they returned to work on Monday, they found that a rigid gel had formed around the material. It was then dried and over the course of one year, scientists discovered that upon heating it to 70° Celsius it solidified and collapsed into white powder.

The product can be used to remove moisture in drug creation and high tech electronics to cleaning huge oil spills. The material known as Upsalite was named after the University of Uppsala. Scientists also term the product as ‘impossible material’ because of the difficulties they faced during its creation.   

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