Naba Dutta of RMIT University in Australia will develop disposable sanitary pads from natural, biodegradable polymers and agricultural byproducts such as cellulose to decrease cost and waste production and improve safety. Disposable pads are generally made from synthetic superabsorbent material that is expensive, has a high carbon footprint and is associated with an increased risk of diseases such as pelvic inflammatory disease. Using their photo-crosslinking method, they will synthesize and test different protein-based hydrogels to produce the absorptive core of the pads, and also synthesize natural esters and test their ability to form an impermeable but breathable barrier layer. They will also test modified soy protein-based gels for adhesive properties, and jute fiber treated with polyphenols extracted from plants for the antibacterial layer. Once the components have been optimized, they will assemble them into a sanitary pad and test its performance compared to commercial pads.
More information about Innovations in Materials Science for a Transformative Menstrual Health and Hygiene Product (Round 25)