Old clothes save lives in Sin­ga­pore

Southeast Asia Globe - - Next -

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

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