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Reusability and Water-Free Cleaning by Superhydrophobic Origami Design

Wei Lu of the University of Michigan in the U.S. will develop a reusable sanitary pad from a highly hydrophobic material containing carbon nanofibers, which clot blood, and microfolds that trap it in small pockets on the surface and can be cleaned without water. Disposable pads are expensive and generate substantial waste, making reusable products more attractive in low- and middle-income countries. However, these all require washing with lots of clean water, which is often problematic. They will develop a material that, rather than promoting absorption, instead quickly immobilizes the blood in a solid state on the surface of the pad, which can be removed by simply stretching it. They will develop a prototype with optimized loading of the carbon nanofibers and with three-dimensional origami patterns that effectively capture the blood, protect the skin, and avoid leakage. The prototype will be tested for comfort and performance by volunteers.

More information about Innovations in Materials Science for a Transformative Menstrual Health and Hygiene Product (Round 25)

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is part of the Grand Challenges partnership network. Visit grandchallenges.org to view the map of awarded grants across this network and grant opportunities from partners.