Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Environmental Analysis
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Plasma-treated Nano Filters Help Purify World Water Supply

Published: Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Last Updated: Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Access to safe drinking water is a step closer to being a reality for those in developing countries, thanks to new research published in Nature Communications.

The study paves the way for the next generation of portable water purification devices, which could provide relief to the 780 million people around the world who face every day without access to a clean water supply.

An international team of researchers - led by Associate Professor Hui Ying Yang from Singapore University of Technology and Design - showed that water purification membranes enhanced by plasma-treated carbon nanotubes are ideal for removing contaminants and brine from water.

The team included Dr Zhaojun Han and Professor Kostya (Ken) Ostrikov from CSIRO's world-leading Plasma Nanoscience Laboratories.

According to Dr Han, these membranes could be integrated into portable water purification devices the size of a tea pot that would be rechargeable, inexpensive and more effective than many existing filtration methods. Contaminated water would go in one end, and clean drinkable water would come out the other.

"Small portable purification devices are increasingly recognized as the best way to meet the needs of clean water and sanitation in developing countries and in remote locations, minimizing the risk of many serious diseases," Dr Han says.

"The large industrialized purification plants we see in other parts of the world are just not practical - they consume a large amount of energy and have high labour costs, making them very expensive to run."

Dr Han acknowledges that some smaller portable devices do already exist. However, because they rely on reverse osmosis and thermal processes, they are able to remove salt ions but are unable to filter out organic contaminants from the briny water found in some river and lake systems.

"For people in remote locations, briny water can sometimes be the only available water source," he says. "That's why it's important to not only be able to remove salts from water, but to also be able to put it through a process of purification."

"Our study showed that carbon nanotube membranes were able to filter out ions of vastly different sizes - meaning they were able to remove salt, along with other impurities," he says.

According to Professor Ostrikov, the other downside of existing portable devices is that they require a continuous power supply to operate their thermal processes. "On the other hand, the new membranes could be operated as a rechargeable device."

Professor Ostrikov attributes the success of the new membranes to the unique properties of plasma treated carbon nanotubes.

"Firstly, ultralong nanotubes have a very large surface area that is ideal for filtration. Secondly, nanotubes are easy to modify, which allows us to tailor their surface properties through localized nanoscale plasma treatment," he says.

Now that the researchers have proven the effectiveness of the method, they plan to extend their research to investigate the filtration properties of other nanomaterials. They will begin by looking at graphene, which has similar properties to carbon nanotubes, but could be made considerably denser and stronger.

The study 'Carbon nanotube membranes with ultrahigh specific capacity for water desalination and purification' is a collaborative work between Singapore University of Technology and Design, CSIRO, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the University of Sydney, and Hong Kong Polytechnic University.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 5,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.


Scientific News
Washing Clothes Releases Microplastic Particles
Research suggests that over 700,000 microfibres could be released in waste water with every run of a domestic washing machine.
Atmosphere Acidity Minimised to Preindustrial Levels
Sheet ice study shows acidic pollution of the atmosphere has now almost returned to preindustrial levels.
Detecting Hazardous Substances in Water
Scientists develop device for the rapid analysis for hazardous substance content in liquids.
Environmental Impact of GM Crops
Following the adoption of GM crops, insecticide usage decreases but herbicide use increases, study shows.
Water Dynamics Affect Coral Reefs
Understanding what aids or degrades these ecosystems can help focus conservation efforts on reefs that are most likely to survive global warming.
Impact of Emerging Contaminants in Our Water Supply
Emerging contaminants, any synthetic or naturally occurring chemical not commonly monitored in the environment, in our water supply are becoming of increasing concern due to their potential ecological and/or human health effects.
Study Finds Mercury Contamination Across Western N. America
BRI research results found widespread mercury contamination at various levels across Western North America.
Device Improves Measurement of Water Pollution
Researchers have developed a device that makes it easier to measure contaminant levels in water.
Changing Ocean Chemistry Due To Human Activity
More anthropogenic carbon in the northeast Pacific means weaker shells for many marine species.
Sensor Could Help Fight Bacterial Infections
The sensor can detect E.coli bacteria in 15-20 minutes over a wide temperature range, offering a fast and cost effective tests.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,000+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!