California scientists have created an absorbent nanosponge material that can be sewn into swimwear and wet suits to soak up water pollution.
The husband-and-wife engineering team that invented the material won an international wearable technology competition and recognized in Rome at the Maker Faire.
The scientists teamed up with designers to create the Sponge Suit, a beachwear that cleans the water as you swim.
The swimsuit is padded with a sucrose-based material that repels water but sucks up harmful contaminants, according to Takepart. com .
The material could also be sewn into wet suits, letting surfers help clean the ocean as they catch waves” said Mihri Ozkan, a professor of electrical engineering at the University of California, Riverside.
Ozkan said she and her husband, materials engineer Cengiz Ozkan, have been working on the material for about four years and were originally inspired to devise a new way to clean up ocean oil spills.
The swimsuit’s net-like white shell surface is made of a flexible 3-D-printed plastic that holds a sugar-based material called the sponge.
The material is porous and can absorb contaminants up to 25 times its weight. When the sponge is full, it can be removed from the suit and heated to 1,832 degrees Fahrenheit to liquefy the material.
The contaminants are removed, and the rest is recycled into a new sponge.