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Saving Lives And The Oceans With… Plastic Bottle Waste? | CNA Insider

The world buys 1 million plastic bottles a minute, and it’s creating an environmental disaster. But scientists from Singapore have found a way to turn waste polyethylene terephthalate (PET) into aerogels – a super material used by the likes of NASA on the Mars Rover and the US Navy.

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PET aerogels in particular can be used to soak up oil spills at sea faster, serve as an ultralight thermal insulator in winter wear or firemen’s suits, or act as soundproofing. It’s also potentially a lot cheaper than silica aerogel, the most common type in use.

The same researchers have also transformed textile and paper waste into aerogels, and are looking at food waste like coffee next. The team is led by Associate Professor Hai Minh Duong and Professor Nhan Phan-Tien from the National University of Singapore, in collaboration with Dr Xiwen Zhang from the Singapore institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech) under the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).

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