Scientists and engineers at The University of Texas at Austin have created a hydrogel tablet to purify contaminated water rapidly.
One tablet can clean a litre of water and make it drinkable in less than an hour. The hydrogel generates hydrogen peroxide to neutralize more than 99.999% of bacteria by attacking their essential cell components and disrupting their metabolism.
Moreover, the researchers say that scaling production would be straightforward. Indeed, materials are cheap, and the synthesis process is simple, even at scale. Also, they can control the tablets’ shape and size to adapt them to different use cases.
Why does it matter? Almost a third of the world does not have clean drinking water, and half of the population could experience extreme water scarcity by 2025. The existing purification processes rely on boiling water, which requires a lot of energy and time, and is not practical for the people who lack clean water the most.
Finding a solution to the water crisis could save millions of people. In this context, these hydrogel tablets can make a massive difference as they are easy to use, highly efficient and scalable to mass production.