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Sustainable Hydrogel to Remove Microplastics

Why is it in the news?

  • Researchers at Indian Institute of Science developed a sustainable hydrogel aimed at removing microplastics from water bodies.

More about the news

  • The hydrogel comprises three distinct polymer layers – chitosan, polyvinyl alcohol, and polyaniline – intricately intertwined to form an interpenetrating polymer network (IPN) architecture.
  • Nanoclusters of a copper substitute polyoxometalate (Cu-POM) material are infused into the hydrogel matrix. These nanoclusters act as catalysts, facilitating the degradation of microplastics upon exposure to UV light irradiation.
  • The combination of polymers and nanoclusters results in a robust hydrogel with dual capabilities of adsorbing and degrading significant quantities of microplastics present in water.
  • The developed hydrogel demonstrates high efficiency, achieving removal rates of approximately 95% and 93% for two different types of microplastics, respectively, at near-neutral pH levels (~6.5).
  • By effectively targeting microplastic pollution, the sustainable hydrogel offers potential benefits for mitigating the adverse environmental impacts associated with microplastic contamination in aquatic ecosystems.

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