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IISc Researchers Create Eco-Friendly Hydrogel to Eliminate Microplastics from Water

IISc Researchers Create Eco-Friendly Hydrogel to Eliminate Microplastics from Water

·        To combat the worldwide problem of plastic pollution, researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have created a sustainable hydrogel that can be used to extract microplastics from water.

·        The health of people is at risk due to the widespread presence of microplastics, which are tiny particles smaller than five millimeters, in soil, oceans, and even the air we breathe.

·        By employing UV light irradiation, the hydrogel—which is composed of a special polymer network—can bind and break down microplastics.

·        Previous approaches, such as filtering membranes, are unsustainable since they have failed because of clogging.

How did it come to be?

·        The copper substitute polyoxometalate nanoclusters and three polymer layers that make up the IISc hydrogel have demonstrated excellent efficacy in eliminating polyvinyl chloride and polypropylene microplastics from water.

·        According to IISc, the hydrogel is made up of three distinct polymer layers that are entwined to form an Interpenetrating Polymer Network (IPN) architecture: chitosan, polyvinyl alcohol, and polyaniline. The researchers added copper replacement polyoxometalate (Cu-POM) nanoclusters to this matrix. These nanoclusters function as catalysts, breaking down the microplastics with the help of UV light. The polymers and nanoclusters worked together to create a robust hydrogel that could absorb and break down significant volumes of microplastics.

·        The group intends to use larger technology in order to implement devices that remove microplastics from different types of water. The hydrogel is a versatile solution to environmental contamination because it can also be used to create carbon nanoparticles that can remove heavy metals from contaminated water.

Concerning IISc

Located in Bangalore, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) was founded in 1909 with the goal of promoting scientific research in India. Among the top research institutes in the nation, it provides undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate degrees in a range of scientific fields. Numerous research facilities and laboratories are located on the 400-acre complex. IISc is renowned for its contributions to innovative and cutting-edge science, engineering, and technology-related research.

Concerning microplastics

Microplastics are microscopic plastic particles that contaminate the environment; they are less than 5 mm. These particles originate from a multitude of sources, such as industrial operations, textiles, and cosmetics. Because they can be consumed by animals and make their way up the food chain, they are detrimental to marine life. Additionally, drinking water has been shown to contain microplastics, endangering human health. Improving waste management systems and outlawing specific products are two ways to lessen the pollution caused by microplastics.

IISc Researchers Create Eco-Friendly Hydrogel to Eliminate Microplastics from Water