Graphene-based sieve turns salt water into drinking water
Graphene-based sieve turns salt water into drinking water.
To make it, researchers turned to a chemical derivative known as graphene oxide.
Graphene is an allotrope consisting of a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice.
This gives it a wide range of unique properties, such as extraordinary tensile strength and electrical conductivity.
However, manufacturing graphene-based membranes have proven difficult in the past.
In contrast, graphene oxide is much easier to produce.
“Graphene oxide can be produced by simple oxidation in the lab,” said co-author Dr. Rahul Nair, a professor at the University of Manchester, according to BBC News.
This then restricted the substance and allowed researchers to control how much salt passed through by changing the speed of water as it went through the membrane.
They hope that one day the sieve — or ones like it — could be used to help reduce that number.
While more work needs to be done before graphene-based membranes can be inexpensively produced at an industrial scale, this new device is the first time scientists have been able to control the spacing of pores in a membrane for desalination purposes.