Scientists created a new hydrogel tablet that kills 99.999 % bacteria in sample water within an hour.
A research team at the University of Texas developed a new way to rapidly disinfects contaminated water with a hydrogel tablet and make it drinkable in an hour. One hydrogel tablet disinfects 1 liter of contaminated water with an accuracy of 99.999% and the tablet can be removed without leaving behind any residue or chemicals in the water. Around one third of the population has no access to water suitable for drinking, and this new discovery of hydrogel tablet could be significant for them to get a clean and drinkable water.
As per some certain estimates, a third of the global population still has no clean water available for drinking and by 2050, half of the population could be living in regions with water scarcity. There are various methods that can be used to purify water. However, they may take longer time and more energy. This newly developed hydrogel tablet could be of huge help in solving the global water scarcity issue with its ease of use, and high efficiency. The tablet generates hydrogen peroxide that works with activated carbon particles to attack bacteria and disrupt their metabolism. This process does not require any energy input and doesn’t even leave any harmful byproducts. The hydrogels can then be easily removed without leaving any residue behind. Moreover, the hydrogel tablet could also be used in solar distillation that uses sunlight to discrete water from bacteria. The hydrogels can improve the process of distillation by killing accumulating bacteria on equipment that create biofouling problems.
Furthermore, even though the hydrogel tablet has been tested on small scale, it can be easily scaled up as the materials and procedure used to develop hydrogels are low cost and simple. The team will be now working on finding new ways to improve the hydrogel tablets to be effective on wider range of microorganisms and viruses.