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Could a bikini be the next step to managing water pollution?

Sponge Suit University-of-California 2

Who would have thought that a bikini could be a tool to address pollution in our oceans?

Sponge Suit University-of-California graphic design

Engineering professors at the University of California have created the “Sponge Suit Bikini” which repels water, absorbs oils, and is designed to help filter impurities from water. The porous material is created from a network of nanocarbons originating from sugar. With a surface area of 823.77 square meters (approximately 64 square inches) per gram, it can absorb up to 25 times its own weight, depending on the density of the substance.it attracts.

Sponge Suit University-of-California graphic design 2

This fascinating bikini was awarded first place for its pollution-absorbing qualities at Reshape15, a wearable technology competition. The suit features a net-like exterior shell made from 3D-printed plastic that flexes to fit the body and a filler made from the Sponge material. As the wearer swims, the sponge part of the design is meant to collect and retain impurities from the water. To release whatever gets absorbed, the suit would need to be heated to temperatures of 1,000 degrees celsius, when it can then be filtered of contaminants and reshaped for reuse.

Sponge Suit University of California 1

Not sure how comfortable these swim suits would be – or how amazingly expensive they would be either. But they definitely would generate a lot of conversation!

Debra Atlas is a freelance environmental writer and eco-enthusiast based in Northern California, and is the Red Ferret’s Ecological Editor. Debra looks for the upside of eco-change – what’s positive, making a difference. She hunts down those interesting things cooked up by creative minds, especially if they’re strange and eccentric.

Debra Atlas – who has written posts on The Red Ferret Journal.


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