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The world’s best drink cooler may come from pineapple scraps

Date: 1.11.2019 

When life gives you pineapples – and hundreds of millions of tons of pineapple waste – what do you do? Engineers in Singapore and Vietnam decided to turn all those scraps into something useful – insulation for their pi?a coladas. Not only does their new material keep drinks chilled better than many commercial coolers, but it could also offer a final resting place for the world’s pineapple waste.

Kredit: Fir0002/Flagstaffotos.Pineapples make up about 20% of the world’s tropical fruit production, with more than 25 million tons harvested each year – but more than half of this forms waste byproducts like leaves, peels, and seeds.

To find a use for those leftovers, the researchers mixed pineapple fibers, which they shredded in a blender, with polyvinyl alcohol as an adhesive agent and deionized water as a solvent. They then treated the mix with ultrasound and heated it in an oven at 80°C for 2 hours. The suspension that formed was then chilled before being freeze-dried.

The result was a pale yellow aerogel that is lightweight, flexible, and more than 96% porous – properties that make it ideal as an insulating material against both heat and sound.

When the researchers wrapped a sheet of the pineapple aerogel around a military-style canteen bottle, they found that the gel could provide three times the thermal insulation of commercially available alternatives. The gel-wrapped bottle kept –3°C water cooled below 0°C for 6 hours and liquid heated to 90°C above 40°C for 2.5 hours.





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