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 3,000+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,500+ 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
Paper Filter Can Remove Viruses from Water
A new paper filter can purify water from viruses, even the most difficult and contagious.
Changing California Land Uses will Shape Water Demands in 2062
If past patterns of California land-use change continue, projected water needs by the year 2062 will increase beyond current supply.
Chemical Emitted by Trees Can Impact Ozone Levels
Researchers have found that the way that isoprene, a natural hydrocarbon compound emitted from broadleaf deciduous trees, is processed in the atmosphere at night can have a big impact on the ozone in the atmosphere the next day.
A New Sensor to Assess the Biodiversity in the Atmosphere
UPM researchers design a portable autonomous device capable of collecting and assessing bacterial, viral and fungal biodiversity in the air as well as pollen in different urban areas and seasons.
Measuring The Airborne Toxicants Urban Bicyclists Inhale
Researchers analyze breath biomarkers to measure uptake of volatile organic compounds by bicyclists.
Elevated Bladder Cancer Risk in New England and Arsenic in Drinking Water From Private Wells
Researchers have found that drinking water from private wells, may have contributed to the elevated risk of bladder cancer in northern new England.
Detecting Nano Amounts In Environmental Samples
The NanoUmwelt project is developing a technique that can detect nanomaterials in a variety of environmental samples.
Bioreactors Ready for the Big Time
Bioreactors are passive filtration systems that can reduce nitrate losses from farm fields.
Microbial Biosensor Designed To Evaluate Water Toxicity
UAB researchers develop new paper-based biological tool.
Coding and Computers Help Spot Methane, Explosives
Coded apertures improve and shrink mass spectrometers for field use.
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
3,000+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,500+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!