Here’s yet another reason to love bubble wrap, the delightful-to-pop packing material: it can help generate clean water.
Researchers at MIT were looking for a way to clean and desalinate water without using expensive specialty materials or devices. What they came up with is, in layman’s terms, a sponge encased in bubble wrap. This “solar vapor generator” can heat water up enough to make it boil, evaporating the water and leaving behind unwanted products like salt.
The most common way to concentrate sunlight and generate heat is with mirrors, says George Ni, a PhD candidate who led the research. But the problem is that mirrors and other optical heat concentrators are often pricey.
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