Money Matters - Simplified

Scientists see uses for odd 'dry water'

Boston -- Scientists say a substance dubbed "dry water" resembling powdered sugar could absorb and store carbon dioxide, the major greenhouse gas causing global warming.

In a presentation Wednesday at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society, scientists hinted at additional uses, including a greener, more efficient method of jump starting the chemical reactions involved in the creation of hundreds of consumer products, and a safer way to store and transport hazardous industrial materials, ScienceDaily.com reported.

"There's nothing else quite like it," researcher Ben Carter said. "Hopefully, we may see 'dry water' making waves in the future."

The substance earned its "dry water" nickname because it is 95 percent water and yet is a dry powder, Carter said.

Each powder particle contains a water droplet surrounded by modified silica, the material that makes up ordinary beach sand. The silica coating prevents the water droplets from combining and turning back into a liquid, he said.

The result is a fine powder that can slurp up gases like carbon dioxide or methane.

Dry water has also been shown to speed up catalytic reactions in processes used to make drugs, food ingredients and other consumer products, researchers say.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

No votes yet