Researchers from the University of Bristol have identified a method to reuse the standard plastic to decline toxic colorants from wastewater.
The study’s report has been recently published in the journal ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces. The study has been conducted by a team of Brazilian and British scientists.
The scientists described how artificial colorants, applied in the clothes manufacturing industry, globally, might be approached by polystyrene, a type of plastic seen in very common products, such as packaging.
Polystyrene is the main compound in the creation of a new material
Polystyrene stays at the base of the production of new materials using the fresh method of cooling and extending the compounds until they can stand nanoparticles.
Once recovered in the solid state, the material can be applied to eliminate toxic artificial colorants, which are perceived as very carcinogenic elements. Besides, the artificial colorants can cause chronic sexual disorders to people and other mammals.
Julian Eastoe, a professor at the University of Bristol, and Rodrigo de Oliveira, a researcher from Paraiba State University, in Brazil, have worked together in this project.
“With the recently released BBC series ‘Blue Planet II’ highlighting the scale of plastic debris (so-called “white pollution”) in the oceans, developing processes to break down, recycle or re-use waste plastics is of critical importance,” explained Julian Eastoe.
The study showed that the method can eliminate harmful colorants such as Rhodamine B
This recent study shows that polystyrene, definitely a plastic residue, can be reused and once the catalyst is separated, an extended thick synthetic polystyrene spume remains.
This high-surface state assists the element to be covered in photocatalytic nanoparticles, thus, producing a solid photocatalyst that might be included into polluted wastewater to eliminate dyes similar to Rhodamine B, which is an artificial colorant that has been forbidden to be used in foods composition but is still broadly applied in residue processing factories to identify leaks.