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Low-Cost Gel Pulls Water From Atmosphere Like Star Wars Vaporator
A unique and inexpensive gel film can be used to capture moisture in air, and provide potable water, according to University of Texas at Austin researchers.
(Prototype uses gel film to capture water from air)
“This is not something you need an advanced degree to use,” said Youhong “Nancy” Guo, the lead author on the paper and a former doctoral student in Yu’s lab, now a postdoctoral researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “It’s straightforward enough that anyone can make it at home if they have the materials.”
The film is flexible and can be molded into a variety of shapes and sizes, depending on the need of the user. Making the film requires only the gel precursor, which includes all the relevant ingredients poured into a mold.
“The gel takes 2 minutes to set simply. Then, it just needs to be freeze-dried, and it can be peeled off the mold and used immediately after that,” said Weixin Guan, a doctoral student on Yu’s team and a lead researcher of the work.
The research was funded by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and drinking water for soldiers in arid climates is a big part of the project. However, the researchers also envision this as something that people could someday buy at a hardware store and use in their homes because of the simplicity.
Science fiction fans have long been fascinated by the vaporators imagined by George Lucas and featured in the original Star Wars film.
(Star Wars vaporator on Tatooine)
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/15/2022)
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