Graphene-based sieve turns seawater into drinking water
Graphene-based sieve turns seawater into drinking water.
A UK-based team of researchers has created a graphene-based sieve capable of removing salt from seawater.
The promising graphene oxide sieve could be highly efficient at filtering salts.
Reporting their results in the Nature Nanotechnology journal, University of Manchester scientists, led by Dr Rahul Nair, show how they used a chemical derivative called graphene oxide to solve some of the challenges.
Until now, they could not be used to filter out common salts, which require smaller sieves.
Previous work had shown that graphene oxide membranes became slightly swollen when immersed in water, allowing smaller salts to flow through the pores along with water molecules.
By contrast, water molecules flowed fast through the membrane barrier, which made it ideal for use in desalination.
Current desalination plants around the world use polymer-based membranes.
"The next step is to compare this with the state-of-the-art material available on the market," Dr Nair said.
Ram Devanathan, from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, US, said more work was needed to produce graphene oxide membranes inexpensively at industrial scales.