Scientists discover new method of filtering sea water into drinking water
Graphene, that miraculous new material invented recently and stronger than steel is now creating waves again for its ability to solve the drinking water crisis for millions on our planet. Researchers in UK have made a fantastic discovery how a graphene sieve could turn sea water into drinking water.
Published in the Journal Nature Nanotechnology, the research team at the University of Manchester, UK led by Dr Rahul Nair has shown how the challenge of filtering salts from sea water could be met using a derivative called Graphene oxide.
1 Graphene membranes have successfully filtered sea water
The new Graphene oxide sieve is proving extremely promising for filtering salts form sea water and will be tested against other desalination membranes. Till recently Graphene oxide membranes developed at the graphene national institute have not been successful in the filtration process. The swelling of the membrane reduced its efficiency to filter common salts out of salty water.
However today, the research team at Manchester has gone on to develop a Graphene sieve that avoids swelling where the pore size of the membrane can even be controlled to filter out salts from seawater completely making it safe to drink.
2 Earlier membranes proved unsuccessful after which scientists tried a new approach
Although Graphene has been hailed as a miraculous material for its incredible strength even stronger than steel, the cost factors was the largest obstacle in its development. But Graphene oxide is a much cheaper alternative proving as efficient in applications such as filtering water. According to Dr Nair “graphene oxide can be produced by simple oxidation in the lab”.”In terms of scalability and the cost of the material, graphene oxide has a potential advantage over single-layered graphene.”
What brought success to the research was the method of placing epoxy resin walls to either side of the Graphene oxide membrane which stopped the material swelling. This enabled scientists to enhance and exert more control on the filtration properties of the membrane to filter out common salts from seawater.