A group of scientists have developed a menstrual pad that could usher in a whole new era for women across the globe including Zimbabwe.
The team from the department of Chemical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad – led by Chandra Shekhar Sharma, have developed a sanitary pad made of a cellulose-based nano-fibre that has absorbency of more than 30 percent and 60 percent.
The pad is 200 times smaller in diameter than the regular microfibers that are generally used in making pads, resulting in a thinner and softer product that doesn’t need to be changed as often as regular pads.
By Marvelous Tinevimbo Chibagidi
The new pad material, made using nanotechnology, claims to be more absorptive and cheaper to make. But perhaps most notably, it’s free of toxic chemicals that can cause a deadly condition known as Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).
Nanotechnology is manipulation of matter on an atomic, molecular, and supramolecular scale. The earliest, widespread description of nanotechnology referred to the particular technological goal of precisely manipulating atoms and molecules for fabrication of macroscale products, also now referred to as molecular.
Most modern pads rely on super absorbent polymers (SAPs), a genre of gels that are added to the napkins’ cellulose fiber cores to make them thinner and more absorbent than ever before. But SAPs, which are fondly nicknamed “super slurpers” by materials scientists, have a few serious downsides. Not only are they petroleum-based, taking centuries to degrade in landfills.
The IIT sanitary pad is also good news for the environment. Usually dumped in landfills, most sanitary napkins can take between 500 to 800 years to decompose because of the presence of SAPs, which Sharma and his team were keen to avoid.
The new pad material, made using nanotechnology, claims to be more absorptive and cheaper to make. But perhaps most notably, it’s free of toxic chemicals that can cause the deadly condition known as Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).
When Sharma and the team compared their new materials to their commercial counterparts, they found that all three absorbed more liquid. But the effect was most pronounced in the material that didn’t contain any SAPs. That material also held up better under liquid loads, left behind less residue, and was more comfortable to the touch. The team concluded that their new electrospun material could replace SAP options altogether.
Question then comes, how long will it take for other parts of the globe which are not in Asia to grasp the idea especially Africa because over the years there has been campaigns and initiatives to ensure that sanitary wear is affordable to even the women in the marginalised areas.
Who could have imagined that technology would have helped ease the struggles of womanhood but this nano technology invention has proved that technology sure makes human life easier and better in so many ways.
Sharma and his team want to change that with pads that can last longer ,because when the pads last longer that means a woman would not have to use many sanitary pads so a lesser expense.
.“We aim to produce these pads with more absorption capacity so even in high discharge conditions, only a single pad will be sufficient. So, overall, for a complete menstruation cycle which lasts for five to six days, this will be economical,” he said.