Old clothes save lives in Singapore
Touted as an eco-friendly way of saving disused clothes, researchers from the National University of Singapore have developed a method of turning cotton fabric into a highly absorbent material that can be used to stop heavy bleeding. The cotton sponge, or aerogel, has the potential to replace other aerogel pellets – normally used as absorbents to control haemorrhaging – as it is cheaper and faster to produce. When inserted into a wound, the new technology expands to 16 times its normal size in 4.5 seconds, absorbing blood from deep, life-threatening wounds three times faster than the cellulose-based sponges that are currently the industry standard. The invention has also proved a highly effective heat insulator – the team is currently working with DSO National Laboratories to produce military-grade water bottles – and there are hopes that the technology can be commercialised in the future.
Hai Minh Duong (L) and Nhan Phan-Thien led an NUS team that developed a revolutionary aerogel