On immediately’s episode of “What If?” — what if the Apollo 13 astronauts had a 3D printer? Effectively, for one factor, they could have been capable of keep away from all of the futzing with duct tape and process record covers to jury rig the lithium hydroxide filters, no less than in the event that they’d recognized about these 3D printed enzymatic CO2 filters. And time journey…they most likely would have wanted that too.
A little bit of a stretch, sure, however environmental CO2 scrubbing is no less than one use case for what [Jialong Shen] et al from the Textile Engineering Division at North Carolina State College have developed right here. The star of the present isn’t a lot the 3D printing — though squirting out a bio-compatible aerogel and cross-linking it with UV gentle on the fly is fairly cool. Fairly, the important thing to creating a CO2-scrubbing textile is carbonic anhydrase, or CA, a ubiquitous enzyme that’s central to sustaining acid-base homeostasis. CA is a neat little enzyme that coordinates a zinc ion in its lively website and effectively catalyzes the addition of water to carbon dioxide to provide bicarbonate and hydrogen ions. A single CA molecule can catalyze the conversion of as much as 1,000,000 CO2 molecules per second, making it very engaging as a CO2 filter.
Within the present work, an aerogel of poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate/poly(ethylene oxide) (PEG-DA/EO) was used to entrap CA molecules, holding them in place in a polymer matrix to guard them from denaturation whereas nonetheless permitting entry to gaseous CO2. The un-linked polymers had been combined with photoinitiators and an answer of carbonic anhydrase and extruded by a nice nozzle with a syringe pump. The ensuing thread was blasted with 280–450 nm UV gentle, curing the thread immediately. The thread is both wound up as a mono-filament for later weaving or printed straight right into a 2D grid.
The filament proved to be fairly good at CO2 seize, managing to scavenge 24% of the gasoline from a mix handed over it. What’s extra, the entrapped enzyme seems to be fairly steady, surviving washes with numerous solvents and bodily disruptions like twisting and bending. It’s an thrilling improvement in catalytic textiles, and apart from its apparent environmental makes use of, one thing like this might make low-cost, industrial-scale bioreactors simpler to construct and run.
Picture credit: [Sen Zhang] and [Jialong Shen], NC State; [Rachel Boyd], Spectrum Information 1