RUDN University agronomist checked whether hydrogels can save agriculture from water shortageRUDN University agronomists have studied the thermo...RUDN University agronomist checked whether hydrogels can save agriculture from water shortage
RUDN University agronomists have studied the thermodynamics of hydrogels, which must absorb water from the air and hold it in the ground to prevent evaporation. It turned out that this approach is unlikely to help save agriculture from drought - hydrogels retain water too well and give it poorly. The results are published in the Journal of Composites Science.
Newswise — Sustainable development requires 500 cubic meters of water per person per year. Therefore, the issue of water shortage remains one of the most acute problems. They try to solve the problem with the help of special composite materials - hydrogels, which can retain moisture. This can be useful, for example, in agriculture - it is on it that the most fresh water is spent. If these hydrogels are placed in the soil, they can "absorb" moisture from the air and keep it in the ground. This is to prevent excess evaporation. RUDN University agronomists measured the ability of such materials to retain moisture, hygroscopicity, in an arid climate.
“The highest consumption of clean water is in agriculture, especially in arid climates with high daily evaporation. Innovative materials can be used both to purify water and to preserve it in the soil by reducing evaporation. We used a thermodynamic approach to evaluate the hygroscopicity of gelling materials. Our goal was to investigate how hygroscopicity changes in a wide range of temperatures and relative air humidity typical of an arid climate,” Andrey Smagin, Doctor of Science in Biology, Leading Researcher at the Laboratory “Smart Technologies for the Sustainable Development of the Urban Environment in the Conditions of Global Changes” of RUDN University.