[The following is an exact transcript of this podcast.]
When TV sets die, they usually end up incinerated or in landfills. But now researchers from England’s University of York believe they’ve found a valuable use for told TVs—in medicine.
Liquid crystal displays—or LCDs—are becoming increasingly popular. One key component of the display is a compound called polyvinyl-alcohol, or PVA. The researchers recovered the PVA from television screens. They then heated the material in water with microwaves, cooled it back down and washed it with ethanol. That process creates a new material called expanded PVA. And our bodies fail to mount an immune response against expanded PVA, so it’s a good substance for biomedical applications.
It’s porous with a large surface area, so the expanded PVA is a good material for cellular scaffolding that can be implanted and on which tissues can regenerate. It can also be used for pills and dressings that deliver drugs. The research was published in the journal Green Chemistry.
The study authors say billions of televisions with LCD technology are nearing the end of their lives. Which means that medical dramas that once played out on the TVs may soon come from the TVs.