JERRY MASON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JERRY MASON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Supergel. Co-inventors Dr Nicholas Crowther (left) and Dr Donald Eagland stretch out a sheet of their supergel, which has amazing absorbent properties. The water-based hydrogel can absorb up to half its own weight in oil, for example, without affecting its structure. The gel is formed from two polymers with extremely strong cross links between them. It is up to 1000 times stronger than similar gels. A liquid form of the gel sprayed onto a crude oil slick will soak up the oil and thicken to allow the gel to be rolled up. The gel could also be used to treat burns victims and to transport drugs around the body. It was created at the University of Bradford, England. Photographed in 2000.
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