Researchers hope Upsalite will help save energy

"By accident we left the material in the reaction chamber..."
6:21 min

Scientists at Uppsala University say they have managed to accidentally hit upon a new form of material, which they hope can solve environmental problems through its power to absorb moisture.

One of the researchers who made it, Maria Strömme, a professor of nanotechnology, tells Radio Sweden that the substance, an amorphous magnesium carbonate, does not occur in nature and that scientists have been trying to make it without success for more than a hundred years.

Strömme explains that one gram of the material contains some 26 trillion pores, so if you stretched out the surface area of that one gram, it would cover 800 square meters. All these pores make the substance good at absorbing moisture.

"If you use it for controlling the humidity in warehouses or sports arenas, you can get rid of the moisture using much less energy than you use today," says Strömme.

They even want to explore whether it has the potential to clean up oil spills.

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