Return of the Microbeads: Scientists invent new eco-friendly version for use in bathroom products 

8 Jun

The beads are made using a solution of cellulose, which is forced through tiny holes in a tubular membrane. This creates spherical droplets of the solution, which are washed away from the membrane using vegetable oil.

The beads are then collected, set and separated from the oil before use. Scientists can alter the physical properties of the beads by changing the structure of the cellulose, for example to make the beads harder.

Such microbeads are robust enough to remain stable in a body wash, but can be broken down by organisms at the sewage treatment works, or in the environment over a short period of time.

Researchers believe that they could use cellulose from a range of waste sources, such as from the paper-making industry, as a renewable source of raw material.

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