Acrylic yarn helps extract uranium from seawater
Researchers from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington State have developed a new method for extracting uranium from the ocean. It consists in taking acrylic yarn, soaking it with a special adsorbent and lowering it into the ocean for a while. After a certain time, U308 oxide can be extracted from the polymer coated yarn. This compound produces fuel for nuclear reactors.
According to this scheme, the extraction of uranium with the help of yarn is not such a difficult task. The problem arose only with the search for an adsorbent suitable for these purposes, but they also investigated it.
As for uranium, according to the World Nuclear Association, it is 500 times more in the ocean than gold in the earth's crust. The difficulty is to get this element, since the concentration of uranium-containing ions is only 3 mg per cubic meter of sea water.
If you learn to do this, then given the size of the oceans, 4.5 billion tons of uranium will be available to mankind during the large-scale development of "liquid deposits". This amount is enough for 6.5 thousand years, provided that the current level of electricity consumption is maintained.
Last week, researchers spoke in more detail about the adsorbent they discovered, which is an indispensable condition for the extraction of uranium from the ocean. They became an organic polymer, which is relatively cheap, plus it has the ability to bind uranyl ions.
A team of experts conducted an experiment in which acrylic yarn, previously soaked in polymer, was lowered into seawater with simulated low flow. In one month, it was possible to collect 5 grams of nitrous oxide U308. It is important that the organic polymer turned out to be safe for the inhabitants of the ocean, and this means that uranium mining will not affect the state of the environment. In addition, another group of scientists argues that reducing the level of uranium concentration in the oceans will not have a negative impact on the ecosystem.
As the yarn, you can use any acrylic fabric or just clothes from second-hand. A fabric or yarn can be used many times, but it is necessary to separate uranium from the polymer after each “immersion in the net”. After that, the process can be repeated.