Researchers from the University of Manchester believe that graphene oxide (GO) membranes could offer a simple means of filtering out unwanted salts and impurities from drinking water.
Currently, hundreds of millions of people around the world do not have access to safe drinking water and supplies are under increasing strain from depletion, contamination with seawater, and pollution. As traditional desalination processes are energy intensive and environmentally damaging, an affordable means of extracting clean water from seawater or contaminated water is desperately needed.
Permeable membranes with sub-nanometer pores that filter out ions and impurities while letting water (or other liquids) through are attracting attention for these applications. Recently, carbon materials such as nanotubes and graphene have been hailed as promising candidates for membranes but are hampered by difficulties associated with producing these materials on the industrial scale needed for water filtration and desalination.
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Source: Nature Nanotechnology