samzenpus from the three-shells-clean dept.
RedEaredSlider writes "Crab shells may soon be used to take radioactive contaminants out of water. Joel Pawlak, an associate professor of forest biomaterials at North Carolina State University, has developed a material similar to foam rubber that absorbs water and attaches to molecules dissolved in it, leaving pure and potable water behind. The material is a combination of hemicellulose and chitosan. The first comes from wood and is extracted by the ton in the paper-making process. Chitosan is extracted from ordinary crustacean shells — primarily crab, shrimp and lobster — by treatment with hydrochloric acid and then sodium hydroxide."
In the sciences, we are now uniquely priviledged to sit side by side with
the giants on whose shoulders we stand.
-- Gerald Holton