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Hoberman sphere sand

Granules which expand hugely on contact with water
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Hoberman spheres start off small and grow hugely when pulled open. If made small enough and encased in water soluble spheres, they could become a water-sensitive powder consisting of spring-loaded spheres. On immersion in water, the coating dissolves and the spheres spring open, causing an enormous increase in volume. Could be used to mop up spills quickly or to provide suction.
nineteenthly, Aug 13 2011

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       You're on a roll.   

       How would the opening up of the spheres cause the water to be absorbed? and into what?
nickthird, Aug 13 2011
  

       As something increases in size, it sucks things in, like a fish opening its mouth.
nineteenthly, Aug 13 2011
  

       oh you mean vacuum. in that case you need to add an internal flexible bag that has a hole in it.
nickthird, Aug 13 2011
  

       No you don't, every grain is small enough to hold a drop or more.
zeno, Aug 13 2011
  
      
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