A team at the University of California Riverside, led by Professor of Electrical Engineering, Dr. Mihri Ozkan, has created a swimsuit that is said to clean water of pollutants.
The main structure of the bikini was 3D printed using elastomer and afterwards fitted with a sponge-like material that repels water while absorbing polluting material in high capacity. Once absorbed, the materials are not released unless heated in temperatures around 1,000 °C, when the material re-obtains its original liquid form and can be separated from the contaminants to be recycled. This reusable porous material dubbed “Sponge” derives from heated sucrose and can absorb 25 times its weight.
The current bikini design itself weights only a total of 54 grams, with a thickness of 2 millimetres. While the design was created by Professor Ozkan and her team, the concept had been developed by the New York-based design and architecture company Eray Carbajo.
Sponge Suit is the winner of the Reshape15: Wearable Technology Competition and not a final product itself, but was made to prove the effectiveness of the material in a creative way.
“This design can be developed into different outfits: bathing suits, mayokini, swimming caps. Reprogrammability, recyclability and affordability are intriguing properties of the technology, allowing room for further research and development in clean-tech wearable. We aim for a future where everyone, with any shape and form of swimming outfit, can contribute to the cleanliness of the seas by a sports activity or simply a leisurely summer vacation.”