Scientists Use Plastic Waste To Form A New Ultra-Light Material

Author - Nov 09, 2018


Scientists Use Plastic Waste To Form A New Ultra-Light Material

NUS researchers have built up a method to create elastic and enduring aerogels using plastic waste.

NUS researchers have built up a method to create elastic and enduring aerogels. This new material can make a huge innovation in the insulation industry, construction, even body armors for firefighters. And they use plastic waste to produce it.

Humans are now using plastic as an essential material in life. As a result, the amount of plastic waste is becoming larger and larger. According to an estimation, the waste we produce will pass half trillion tons/year by 3 years later. And that is not a good news for the environment. Plastic is extremely harmful to ocean life, especially when animals consume it. It is also can't be biologically degraded, and thus, can contaminate soil, water, and ocean.

nus researchers
These scientists at NUS have found a way to create a supermaterial using plastic.

Hai Minh Duong, a professor at NUS (National University of Singapore), approved this. He also added that plastic bottles is one of the main sources of plastic waste.

Plastic bottles are usually recycled multiple times, from PET, which is considered fairly harmful to our health.

Duong also said that his team has managed to find out a simple, environment-friendly, inexpensive way to turn plastic waste into PET aerogels to serve multiple useful purposes.

According to Duong, they can recycle a single plastic bottle to create a PET aerogel sheet which is the size of A4 paper. Mass production is considered available as well. By this method, the team hopes to create an effective way to reduce the huge amount of waste that humans are producing every day.

plastic into aerogels
They can recycle a single bottle into an A4 sheet of aerogels.

The future of it

The material is told to be flexible, enduring yet really lightweight and easy to use. According to the development team, the aerogels have impressive heat insulation and sound absorption ability. With these advantages, it is expected to perform well in various applications, from construction, producing body armor and mask for firefighters to gas masks.

Before the finding of this material, the researchers had managed to turn paper into cellulose and clothes into cotton aerogels. They believe that there is, even more, to do to improve the effectiveness of this material. The team also enthusiastically work with companies to marketize this material.

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