Everybody knows that the earth’s atmosphere is full of water. However, it has not been successfully tapped as a source of drinkable water. Although the earth will never run out of water, drinkable water is not always available to all people where and when they need it. In fact, more than a billion people do not have access to enough clean water.

Researchers have discovered a way to extract water from air without the use of a power source. In the past, the only methods for extracting water required an external power source, such as electricity or solar power. A team of engineers have created an aerogel that looks like a sponge when magnified. In a humid environment, one kilogram of the aerogel will pull 17 liters of water from the air. It then automatically releases the water without any exterior source.

The aerogel is made up of a sophisticated structure of long-chain polymers that alternate between attracting water and dispelling water. The gel gathers molecules from the air, condenses them into a liquid, and then releases water. Ninety-five percent of the air that is processed in the aerogel is transformed into water. The World Health Organization tested the water and found it to meet the standards for drinking water.

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