Environmental solutions are taking unexpected turns, with researchers developing the bikini that will help save the oceans through its pollution-absorbing material.
- The bikini is made from Sponge, a ‘super material’
- Sponge is water repellent and porous, absorbing in the pollution in the water
- It can soak up 25 times its weight worth in contaminants
- The Sponge bikini can be used 20 times before it starts losing its efficiency
Researchers at the University of California, Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering, had managed to create an interesting wearable that could help combat the heavy pollution in our waters. They designed a material that is aptly named Sponge. It’s self-describing in its purpose, but rather interesting in application.
According to engineers Mihri and, her husband, Cengiz Ozkan, Sponge is a “super material” that is completely cost efficient and safe for the environment. In fact, it’s rather beneficial for the polluted waters of today’s oceans. The couple has been developing the material for the past four years to achieve its potential of cleaning up oil or chemical spills, or perhaps even desalinizing water.
Sponge is capable of filling up with pollutants up to 25 times its own weight. It’s been described as a highly porous material, and it’s water repellant for better absorption of harmful compounds. The hydrophobic fabric has been said to be derived from a form of sugar, heated sucrose, that is perfectly safe in contact with water.
They partnered with architecture and design firm, Eray Carbajo, and came up with the concept of a pollution-absorbing bikini. Sponge was encapsulated in a “net-like cage made from 3D-printed elastomer” that would meld around the body and successfully soak up contaminants.
Perhaps swimming could not save the world’s waters, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction. In fact, the team hopes that one day, it would become a common occurrence to drop off your swimsuit at the dry cleaner for disposal and replacement. The Sponge bikini can be used 20 different times until it starts losing its efficiency.
However, users could potentially have the pollution-absorbing material replaced every once in a while, after it has been properly filled up with contaminants. And, as stated by the two engineers, it’s perfectly safe for the wearer. The material soaks in the pollution, but without actually coming into contact with the skin.
It traps the harmful substances within its pores, and can only release them by exposing Sponge to incredibly high temperatures of 1000oCelsius (1832oFahrenheit). So, it’s safe to say that the user will not be wearing them while the contaminants are removed. And it will certainly not threaten their health through contact.
The design won the ‘Reshape 15 Wearable Technology Competition’, and is now waiting patent approval. It can be applied in many forms, from bikini, to swimming caps, wetsuits or perhaps even swim trunks, so that anyone may contribute to the safety and health of our waters.
Image source: springwise.com