New Material Could Revolutionize Water Harvesting in Dry Regions

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Engineers at MIT have developed a new superabsorbent hydrogel that can harvest water from desert air. The hydrogel is made from a polymer that can hold up to 100 times its weight in water, and it can be used to collect water from even the driest of climates.

The hydrogel works by absorbing water vapor from the air. The water vapor molecules are attracted to the polymer chains in the hydrogel, and they form a thin film of water on the surface of the material. The water can then be easily extracted from the hydrogel by squeezing it or by applying a small amount of heat.

The researchers tested the hydrogel in the desert climate of Arizona, and they found that it could collect up to 2 liters of water per day. This is enough water to meet the daily hydration needs of a person.

The hydrogel is still in the early stages of development, but the researchers believe that it has the potential to be a major breakthrough in water harvesting technology. The hydrogel could be used to provide clean water to people in arid regions of the world, and it could also be used to help mitigate the effects of climate change.

[Image of MIT engineers holding hydrogel discs swollen in water]
Image source: news.mit.edu

The researchers are currently working on ways to make the hydrogel more affordable and scalable. They believe that the hydrogel could be available for commercial use within the next few years.

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