Scientists at the University of Georgia create a ‘superbubble’ two Very valuable potential application. Not only can it be used to clean up oil spills, but it can also prevent infections at medical implant sites.
Developed by a team led by Assoc. According to Professor Hitesh Handa, the three-dimensional material consists of a PDMS (polydimethylsiloxane) matrix, with added graphene nanosheets and antimicrobial copper particles.These additives give the foam a hydrophobic (repellent) rough porous structure and Lipophilic (oil-absorbing).
When sponges made of foam are placed in oil-contaminated water, they Adsorbed oil without absorbing any water. Once the absorbed oil is removed from the foam, the sponge can be reused many times to absorb more oil.
along and Oils, sponges have also been found to absorb other non-polar water-polluting liquids such as chloroform, hydrochloric acid and other organic pollutants—leaving the water itself behind. Any bacteria that came into contact with the foam were killed due to the presence of the copper particles.
With this functionality in mind, the scientists also envision applying thin layers of the material to the surface of medical implants. This foam not only kills bacteria, but also repels fluids like blood, thereby minimizing the chance of infection.
“Current medical devices are prone to contamination,” Handa said. “When you put any medical device in the body, the proteins first stick to the surface, and they act like glue to allow blood or bacteria to stick. So if we can stop the protein from sticking, it’s half the battle won .”
Finally, as an added bonus, the graphene nanosheets in the foam make it electrically conductive, boosting its potential use.
A paper recently published in the journal describes the research ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces.