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Curious layman

How to make better water filter? Turn it inside out

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Full story at link....https://phys.org/news/2019-08-filter.html Original story by Erica K. Brockmeier, University of Pennsylvania.

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a diagram of how the nanofilters are made (top panel) and their microscopic structure (bottom panel) after

 

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More than 800 million people lack access to clean and safe water. Recent advances in water filtration technology have created new ways to filter water and make it drinkable. But  many of these applications are too costly and cumbersome....Reverse osmosis, for example, can make sea water drinkable, but the process is incredibly expensive and requires a large amount of energy...

Abstract.....Post docs Xunda Feng, now at Donghua University, and Yizhou Zhang and graduate student Qaboos Imran, have conducted a study at the lab of Chinedum Osuji which describes a new way to create nanoscale water filters, which as well as being flexible and robust, also have anti microbial properties.

When designing a nanoscale filter, engineers usually start with something that resembles a microscopic strainer or a sieve. Water travels through individual holes that are spread along the strainer and are held together by a solid material that fills the space around them.

Osuji's group, experts in modifying the chemistries of block polymers, large chains of molecules with large "blocks" of repeated sequences, found something unexpected while studying a similar material. Their discovery led them to "inverting" their design strategy: turning the "holes" of the strainer into solid fibres, leaving the previously solid portions of the structure open.

The material was engineered with cross links between individual fibres to add support. Also included in the polymer are chemical structures that give it antimicrobial properties, which will prevent it from being clogged by bacteria.

Osuji says.. "Reverse osmosis is highly developed and very efficient at removing all but the most challenging contaminants, but there are places where it is not cost effective, such as in the treatment of brackish water, treatment of industrial wastewater before discharge, or water softening, there is a possibility to push these new membranes into those regimes".

 

Edited by Curious layman

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