One source of water that has been overlooked for use as safe drinking water is water found in the earth’s atmosphere. Researchers have created a new aerogel, a sponge-like substance that does not require any external power source to extract water from the earth’s atmosphere. The smart aerogel is a solid, almost weightless material and the water does not need to be squeezed out of the substance.

Long-chain polymers build up the aerogel that continuously switch from attracting water to repelling it. The smart aerogel will automatically collect water molecules in the air, 95% of the water vapor collected is released as water. In the lab tests the aerogels produced water nonstop for months. 17 liters a day of water can be produced from one kilogram of the substance in humid environments. On sunny dry days, the smart aerogel transitions into a completely hydrophobic state.

This new invention is unique, previous inventions could extract water from air however they required power, either by sunlight or electricity and had moving parts. This new aerogel produces sustainable freshwater in a variety of climates at minimal energy costs.

The Polymers Technology Center assists companies in the development of new materials and processes. With our partnership with the Polymers Center, our customers have access to engineering and testing capabilities to help them with all aspects of the development process. Contact us and tell us about your new challenge. We are ready to use our expertise to help make it a reality.