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A water magnet

This was too cool not to comment on…. Scientists at MIT have developed a kind of plastic which can attract/repel water (at the same time). Essentially, the article has photos of some of the tests. One where they treated a pattern area and water droplets have accumulated on it. In much of the developing world access to water is a big problem, access to clean, drinkable water is even bigger. It looks as though this plastic could be use to collect water vapor from “thin air”, but could also be used to decontaminate water.


Here in the US (at least in the southeast), we have a tendency to assume that drinkable water is plentiful. We’re fortunate enough at least here in the mountains that many homes have their own well and a fairly ample supply of clean water. (Of course, if the power goes out we don’t have power to the pump… we really need to look at a solar pump… anyway…)

techreview has more details. This sounds like a truly exciting discovery that could be useful in a wide variety of areas. It sounds like there’s a simple process for making the material which could make it relatively cheap as well. According to the article polypropylene fiber meshes are currently used to collect drinkable water from fog in some areas, this substance could increase the water capture by a factor of 10 times….

This sounds like a development that could truly change the world and the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. (If not millions/billions…)

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Posted by on June 8, 2006.

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Categories: General Web/Tech

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