Scientists enrolled with the National University of Singapore have come up with a new method of using unwanted clothes and cotton based fabric waste products. They have introduced a new method of getting these converted into an aerogel. As of other things, this ultra light material can be put to use for keeping your water bottles cold and for controlling abrupt bleeding from any deep wound.
Guided by Hai Minh Duong (Associate Professor) and Nhan Phan-Thien (Professor), this team managed harvesting cotton fibers from pure textile waste and then uses them for production of aerogel through a cheap, green and fast process which is quite similar to the method by which previously aerogel used to be produced from paper waste.
Like all other aerogels, not only theirs is light weighted but also highly absorbent and porous and exhibits minimal thermal conductivity. The difference between this aerogel and others is it can be produced quickly and at a low cost i.e. it is twenty times faster compared to the time taken for fabricating conventional aerogels.
In another experiment, a thermal insulating jacket has been created by the scientists for the military canteens. This jacket consists of a layer of cotton aerogel along with some other fabrics commonly used. When this jacket is placed over a canteen consisting of an ice slurry, it was found capable of maintaining the liquid at a temperature of 32.18o F to 33.8o F i.e. 0.1oC to 1.0oC for more than 4 hours.
Also the researchers made use of aerogel for creating absorbent capsules used for preventing excess bleeding from wounds at the battlefield.
"Each cotton aerogel pellet can expand to 16 times its size in 4.5 seconds – larger and more than three times faster than existing cellulose-based sponges – while retaining their structural integrity. The unique morphology of the cotton aerogels allows for a larger absorption capacity, while the compressible nature enables the material to expand faster to exert pressure on the wound."- said Duong.