Researchers at TU Bergakademie Freiberg have developed innovative materials from farmed sponges. When the fibers of the sponge react with a copper-containing ammonia solution as found in the electronics industry, the mineral atacamite is formed. This mineral, which rarely occurs in nature, adheres so strongly to sponge fibers that it creates a robust material with catalytic and antibacterial properties that could be used as a bio-based industrial filter.
Professor Hermann Ehrlich put the sponge in alkaline copper-containing ammonia. Solution Simulates a copper bath from circuit board manufacturing Electronic components.. After about 12 hours, the sponge turned blue. When dry, it’s stronger than before, but still very light.
“At a pH value of 9, the spongin fibers open and the organic compounds in the protein change,” explains Professor Ehrlich.Copper contained in ammonia solution is an organic component of spongin, especially Amino acid residues, And form the mineral Atacamite. “Like a string, nanometer-sized crystals grow with spongin fibers,” scientists explain. They stabilize the framework while ensuring that the sponge is retained in its unique microarchitecture. A team led by Professor Ehrlich published the results in the journal’s current publication. Advanced material..
Can be used as a bio-based filter for wastewater treatment or pollutant removal
The three-dimensional porous material is essentially a filter. Coupled with the properties of atakamite, there is a wide range of possibilities for using new materials instead of synthetic filters. “Our team is experimental for the first time Composite material Made by Marine Bath sponge In principle, it can be used to develop sensors, catalysts and antibacterial filter systems, “explains Professor Martin Bertau, co-author of the Institute of Chemical Technology at TU Bergakademie Freiberg.
New materials can be reused as many times as you like
When Professor Erich put a blue sponge containing crystals into an acidic solution, the reaction proceeded in the opposite direction. The sponge returned to its original state and could be processed again for further processing. “Therefore, newly developed materials can be recycled many times,” said Freiberg’s biomineralogist enthusiastically.
“Even after up to 100 application cycles, the responsiveness of the Spongin-atacamite composite is still available,” confirms his colleague Professor Berthau. “If the material eventually becomes unusable, the sponge is biodegradable and the copper is recovered from the solution. Ideally, it is electrochemically recovered with renewable energy. This is possible. Has already been shown, “says the chemist.
Dmitry Tsurkan et al, Extreme Biomimetics: Designing of the First Nanostructured 3D Spongin–Atacamite Composite and its Application, Advanced material (2021). DOI: 10.1002 / adma.202101682
Courtesy of Freiberg University
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How Bath Sponge Becomes a Bio-Based Industrial Filter
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