Pencil tip, which is made of graphite, could hold the key to solving the world’s clean water problem. Researchers have found a way to turn graphite into a super efficient water filter.
Two teams of researchers have used the material to create a nano-scale membrane that has come out to be far superior to any conventional water filter system. Its affordability is another great advantage, reported Independent.
Baoxia Mi, an engineering professor from the University of California, Berkley, helped in developing a water filter system using membranes made up of layers of graphene. These membranes are 1000000 times thinner than a sheet of paper.
Baoxia reported that the membrane was made from graphite which is used in pencil. Thus, it is cheap and relatively abundant. She added that the process used to create graphite into graphene is actually very scalable.
Graphene forms these membranes by creating a structure which resembles the maze for water molecules. The contaminated water enters the maze and passes through several layers separated by spaces which are specially designed to eradicate the adulterants. Mi emphasized that the targeted adulterants can be removed by controlling the spacing between the layers. Because of the unique properties of the membranes, the rate at which water can pass through them is much higher compared to traditional filters.
According to World Vision, around 1,000 children under the age of 5 die every day from diarrhoea. This disease is mainly caused by contaminated water, poor sanitation and improper hygiene.
Recently in Flint, Michigan, families have started using bottled water to avoid the contaminated water from the water system. The area’s tap water is not fit to drink since the corroded lead pipes are already poisoning the water. The people of Flint are getting trucks full of donated water from Columbus, Ohio, reported NPR.
The graphene membrane, invented by Mi and her team, can be the solution to the world’s clean water problem. It can be really helpful for people across the world who are struggling to get clean water. In some parts of the world the water crisis is getting higher, this new invention will prove very helpful. The affordability of the system too will be a boon for them.