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Hydrogel

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: TH

  

Context: Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have developed a sustainable hydrogel to address the issue of microplastic pollution in water.

  • Microplastics, posing significant threats to human health and the environment, can enter our bodies through water consumption.
  • The three-layer polymer hydrogel, consisting of chitosan, polyvinyl alcohol, and polyaniline, forms an interpenetrating polymer network (IPN) architecture.
  • Infused with nanoclusters of copper substitute polyoxometalate (Cu-POM), the hydrogel can bind and degrade microplastics under UV light irradiation.
  • The team ensured efficient microplastic removal and degradation by tracking their adsorption and degradation using fluorescent dye.
  • The hydrogel exhibited high efficiency, removing about 95% and 93% of two different microplastic types at near-neutral pH levels.

 

Hydrogels are three-dimensional networks composed of hydrophobic polymers synthesized by crosslinking water-soluble polymers.

Hydrogels can retain a large quantity of water within their network without disturbing their original structure.

This imparts flexibility and swelling properties to the hydrogel structures.