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An eco-friendly napkin made from cellulose derivatives

Napkins and diapers available in the market contain plastics and take a long time to degrade. Photo for representation purposes only.

Napkins and diapers available in the market contain plastics and take a long time to degrade. Photo for representation purposes only.   | Photo Credit: AFP

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Scholar creates alternative as part of Ph.D. work

Preethi Ramadoss, a research scholar from the Department of Crystal Growth Centre of Anna University, has come up with a biodegradable sanitary napkin that does not have any plastics and can degrade within a month.

“It is made of cellulose derivatives. It has turmeric, vettiver and neem and lemon extracts. It has been tested against common pathogens responsible for bacterial vaginosis in women,” explained the scholar, who has developed this as part of her Ph.D. thesis. The university has applied for a patent for the product.

The materials used in this super-thin, less than 3-mm thick napkin absorbs water up to 1700% of its own weight when tested in CIPET as well the university’s own laboratories.

The raw materials used are naturally occurring polysaccharides and polymers derived from plants, Ms. Ramadoss, who began work in 2015 July, explained.

Napkins and diapers available in the market contain plastics and take a long time to degrade. They contain cellulose pulp that is recycled from waste paper and are bleached with chlorine that emits dioxins. They also contain a hydrophobic covering sheet which is made of polypropylene (plastic derivative) that induces skin rashes in most cases. Apart from this, a lot of wood pulp is also required for non-gel napkins/diapers.

Love for nature

She said she chose to develop such a product because her mother had always chosen home remedies for her. “She created a love for nature and environment in me and when I got this opportunity, I chose to develop something that would be useful for women and not harm nature,” she explained.

D. Arivuoli Dakshinamoothy, her Ph.D. guide said the project had funding from the Department of Science and Technology for women scientists.

As part of her Ph.D., Ms. Ramadoss has also made a biodegradable water purification electro-dialysis membrane for desalination and is working on a disposable biodegradable glucose biosensor for diabetic patients.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 7:26:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/an-eco-friendly-napkin-made-from-cellulose-derivatives/article26107042.ece

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