SLUG versus the sludge

A recently developed material called SLUG-26 might be a cheap end effective help in cleaning waterways.

Researchers at UC Santa Cruz, USA, have developed a positively-charged substrate. According to the researchers, SLUG-26 exchanges when placed in polluted water its non-toxic negative ions for negatively charged pollutants.

Scott Oliver, associate professor of chemistry at UC Santa Cruz, has said the data show that the exchange process works. “Our goal for the past 12 years has been to make materials that can trap pollutants, and we finally got what we wanted”. Copper hydroxide ethanedisulfonate – the chemical name of SLUG-26 – is described in a paper that will be published in the journal Angewandte Chemie and is available online. “Whether or not it can be used in the real world is still to be seen, but so far it looks very promising,” Oliver said.

The researchers are currently focusing on the use of SLUG-26 to trap the radioactive metal technetium, which is a major concern for long-term disposal of radioactive waste. The radioactive material is produced in nuclear reactors and has a long half-life of 212,000 years. It can leach out of solid waste and forms a serious threat of groundwater contamination.

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