Grafene used for water purification

University of Manchester researchers have developed another method of using graphene. Their project uses this unusual material for a cheap seawater desalination plant that is able to produce a large amount of potable water.

Although our planet is full of water, its majority is not drinkable because it is in the seas and oceans, and therefore it is heavily salted. Of course there are technologies for desalinating seawater, but it is a time consuming process and quite expensive, so it is not used on an industrial scale.

Thanks to researchers from the University of Manchester, this problem may soon be a thing of the past. The team has developed a special kind of sieve made from graphene, which can very effectively remove salt from sea water, significantly reducing the cost of its desalination. Strictly speaking, it uses graphene oxide, its oxidized form, to make it easier and cheaper to produce large batches of material.

Special membranes made of graphene have a porous surface, with pores too small for salt, but they allow water molecules to pass through. In other words, the salt stops on the diaphragm and so we get water for drinking.

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