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Graphene oxide has been hailed as a veritable wonder material; when incorporated into nanocellulose foam, the lab-created substance is light, strong and flexible, conducting heat and electricity quickly and efficiently.

Now, a team of engineers at Washington University in St. Louis has found a way to use sheets to transform dirty into , and it could be a global game-changer.

"We hope that for countries where there is ample sunlight, such as India, you'll be able to take some dirty water, evaporate it using our material, and collect ," said Srikanth Singamaneni, associate professor of mechanical engineering and at the School of Engineering & Applied Science.

The new approach combines bacteria-produced cellulose and graphene oxide to form a bi-layered biofoam. A paper detailing the research is available online in Advanced Materials.

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