Practical Water Treatment Solution Using Hydrogel TabletsAZoM speaks with Professor Guihua Yu from the University of Texas at Austin about a nov...Practical Water Treatment Solution Using Hydrogel Tablets
AZoM speaks with Professor Guihua Yu from the University of Texas at Austin about a novel hydrogel tablet that is capable of rapidly converting contaminated water into purified drinking water. This novel process can potentially make a big difference in mitigating global water scarcity.
What inspired your research into developing a new way to quickly purify river water?
The water crisis is the number one global risk based on its impact on society, and consumption of unsafe water is a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Every 90 seconds, a child dies from a water-related disease. So there is a strong demand for simpler approaches and innovative materials to disinfect water.
Clean water has long been an international goal. How can this multifunctional hydrogel make a big difference in mitigating global water scarcity?
Hydrogels have unique interactions with water molecules. By modifying hydrogels at the molecular scale, they can be integrated with desired functions to target contaminants in water. Plus, most of the hydrogels we developed are from low-cost raw materials with decent processability for scaling. Hydrogels are definitely an emerging materials platform for water purifications.
Can you provide an overview of how this novel hydrogel tablet rapidly converts contaminated water into purified water?
Our hydrogel tablets consist of a catechol-functionalized chitosan skeleton and quinone-anchored activated carbon particles. The catechol-functionalized skeleton can spontaneously release hydrogen peroxide, a green chemical disinfectant, to kill bacteria. In addition, quinone-modified activated carbon particles speed up and enhance the bacteria-killing efficiency by disrupting the essential metabolization process of bacteria. After disinfection, the tablets are simply removed, leaving no chemical impurities behind in the water.