Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin developed a low-cost gel film that can pull multiple liters of drinking water from the air—even in arid conditions—and release it easily. The material is made up of two common and inexpensive ingredients: konjac gum and cellulose. The gum’s porous structure attracts water from the air, while the cellulose, when responding to gentle heat, turns hydroponic and releases the captured water. Because the ingredients are affordable (the film costs as little as $2 per kilogram) and the process (which involves mixing the components, setting them in a mold and then freeze-drying them) is relatively simple, it’s a major development that could provide vital water to remote and under-resourced areas. Learn more about it at New Atlas.
Image courtesy of University of Texas at Austin