When most of us think of vitamins, it’s in connection with dietary supplements that help keep us strong and healthy. Many people take a multivitamin to make up for vitamins and minerals they may not be getting from their regular diet.
Vitamins can also be used to combat signs of aging, such as greying hair.
Vitamins are not only used for these purposes, though. They also have a role to play in modern technology. Here are three examples of ways in which vitamins are used for non-traditional goals.
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1. Vitamin B2 used for 3D printing
Vitamin B2, or Riboflavin, is found in foods like meat, green vegetables, and cottage cheese. A group of biochemical engineers in North Carolina found it could be used to 3D print medical implants that are more compatible with the human body than existing materials.
Using this technique, researchers can create structures that will be implanted into the body, such as microneedles or scaffolds for tissue engineering custom body parts.
2. Vitamin C neutralizes chlorine in the water
Vitamin C is your go-to vitamin to keep your bones, teeth, and gums healthy, but it also does a great job stamping out the chlorine in the water. If left untreated, the chlorine will kill fish and other aquatic life in the water supply, upsetting the local ecosystem.
Two types of Vitamin C, sodium ascorbate and ascorbic acid, can be used to neutralize chlorine. Neither is considered hazardous since they do not lower the dissolved level of oxygen in the water. Vitamin C is not toxic to wildlife: Once it is introduced to the water, it will degrade in 24-48 hours.
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3. Vitamin E stamps out-static cling
Static cling is a nuisance when you’re trying to get dressed, but it’s a more serious matter for the manufacturing sector. When electrostatic shocks occur in that setting, it can be enough to damage computer chips or television circuits.
Static electricity also has the potential to start fires and explosions that could result in extensive property damage and personal injury for anyone caught on the premises at the time.
Vitamin E, along with other non-toxic antioxidants, is added to coatings for electronics to minimize this problem. These surface coatings will not react chemically with sparks or dust that build up on equipment or plastic parts, which avoids the static charge.
It’s a simple solution to an old problem.