Dr. Paul L. Edmiston, inventor of Obsorb

Obsorb in action: the ultra-absorbant nanomaterial can suck up organic contaminants and can be manufactured more affordably than existing treatment solutions.  (Source: Journal of Separation and Purification Technology)
Glass breakthrough in ground water purification could lead to clean drinking water for many

As it stands, water contamination is a dangerous matter with an expensive solution, so much so that often contaminated sites are simply abandoned. Dr. Paul Edmiston of the College of Wooster (a small private college in Wooster, Ohio) elaborates on the severity of this issue by explaining that, "organic solvents [and] pesticides… have infiltrated watersheds, making such water unfit for use by humans until the contaminating species are removed,” citing industrial, agricultural activity, and the widespread use of chemicals as the cause.

In response to this Dr. Edmiston has engineered Obsorb, a remarkable new nanomaterial form of glass that is chemically inert, hydrophobic, and is able to absorb harmful organic materials.

The glass is capable of absorbing eight times its own weight, and able to retain its structural integrity up to 20,000 times its own weight, making it ideal for large scale applications. Obsorb is able to achieve purification by using an expanding nano matrix glass sponge to suck up harmful chemicals in a process that is completely reversible, meaning that it can be used over and over again.  It is also much cheaper than existing solutions.

Dr. Edmiston’s work is commendable on numerous levels; he has created a cutting edge nanomaterial that will help make our world a safer place to live in. Countries where expensive remediation and chemical treatment facilities are not readily available now have a frugal, safe, and green option.

His work was awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation, and has received enough interest for him to start Absorbent Materials, a company which as the name suggests, offers a line of engineered glasses, sands, and other silica based materials geared toward remediation and recovery.

A paper on the work was published in the journal of Separation and Purification Technology, and can be found here.

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