A team of Australian researchers have developed a special type of graphene, Graphair, that can turn even the dirtiest water on the planet into drinking water. Scientists claim that their graphene-based water filter can change dirty seawater with just one pass.
The team hopes their invention could bring drinking water to areas of the planet where the resource is scarce. Lead author Dong Han Seo noted that more than 2 billion people around the world lack access to clean drinking water.
So, millions of children either get sick or die from disease caused by the bacteria in dirty water every year. “In Graphair we’ve found a perfect filter for water purification,” Seo said.
The new filter, which is includes components from soy bean oil, is more effective than multistage filters. Graphene has a wide range of real life application as a super thick material.
A Highly Effective Water Filter
However, the production costs of the “supermaterial” have been prohibitory, which has limited its applications. The new type of graphene, Graphair, is not that expensive, but it has all the properties of the original material including the ability to repel water.
Researchers were able to turn Graphair into a thin film whose nano-sized pores let water pass but stop larger molecules like bacteria and pollutants. The film was paired with a water filtration membrane to enhance its effectiveness.
As a result, the research team was able to filter highly polluted water from the Sydney Harbour. A commercial filter would have lost half of its filtration effectiveness without the Graphair film.
The team found that their filter weeded out 99% of pollutants and bacteria at a faster rate than commercial-grade filters. What’s more, the filter did not lost its efficacy even after it was coated with contaminants.
Image Source: Wikimedia