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Use of Nano-scale materials in Water Purification Robert Meservy Dept. Physics I chose this subject because Im a reefkeeper and as such have to use distilled.

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Presentation on theme: "Use of Nano-scale materials in Water Purification Robert Meservy Dept. Physics I chose this subject because Im a reefkeeper and as such have to use distilled."— Presentation transcript:

1 Use of Nano-scale materials in Water Purification Robert Meservy Dept. Physics I chose this subject because Im a reefkeeper and as such have to use distilled water in order to not poison the corals and anemones that I keep. I was curious as to whether or not nanotechnology could provide a cheaper and more viable alternative. These principles could also be applied to providing drinking water from saltwater or contaminated sources.

2 Water, water everywhere but nary a drop to drink! Over 75% of the Earths surface is covered in water Over 75% of the Earths surface is covered in water 97.5% of this water is salt water, leaving only 2.5% as fresh water 97.5% of this water is salt water, leaving only 2.5% as fresh water Nearly 70% of that fresh water is frozen in the icecaps of Antarctica and Greenland; most of the remainder is present as soil moisture, or lies in deep underground aquifers as groundwater not accessible to human use. Nearly 70% of that fresh water is frozen in the icecaps of Antarctica and Greenland; most of the remainder is present as soil moisture, or lies in deep underground aquifers as groundwater not accessible to human use. < 1% of the world's fresh water (~0.007% of all water on earth) is accessible for direct human uses. This is the water found in lakes, rivers, reservoirs and those underground sources that are shallow enough to be tapped at an affordable cost. < 1% of the world's fresh water (~0.007% of all water on earth) is accessible for direct human uses. This is the water found in lakes, rivers, reservoirs and those underground sources that are shallow enough to be tapped at an affordable cost. Encyclopedia Britannica

3 Current Purification Methods Chemical Chemical –Activated Carbon –Chlorination –UV light Biological Biological –Bacteria to decompose waste –Oxidation of chemicals Mechanical Mechanical –Settling –Sand or similar screening material This water must of course be first purified to be fit for human consumption The methods used for this are:

4 Advanced types of Mechanical Filtration Some methods of mechanical filtering are actually capable of doing so on the nano-metre scale: Some methods of mechanical filtering are actually capable of doing so on the nano-metre scale: i.e. Diatom filtration Reverse Osmosis Reverse Osmosis Wikipedia

5 Diatom Filtration SEM micrographs of diatoms Diatoms are small single-celled marine algae that use silica to form hard shells. They have small pores that allow the flow of nutrients. a-d Examples of diatom morphologies (scale 10μm) e Valve openings (scale 1μm) Due to their small size and hard shells they can be packed together to form compact filters capable of filtering objects on the micron scale Unfortunately due to the relatively large size of their pores they are incapable of removing chemical impurities retrieved from

6 Reverse Osmosis Pressure is applied across a membrane, driving pure water across while leaving concentrate behind Drawbacks: Most of the water wasted ~87% High pressures are needed to maintain flow Membrane rapidly loses efficacy

7 Nanotech Solutions Use of nano-tubes as filtering devices Use of nano-tubes as filtering devices Use of nano-particles as treatment agents Use of nano-particles as treatment agents

8 Nanotube filters The Use of Carbon Nano-tubes as filtering devices a. Schematic of the process b. Photograph of the bulk tube. c. SEM image of the aligned tubes with radial symmetry resulting in hollow cylindrical structure (scale 1 mm).

9 Views of the Filter 1.SEM picture of filter cartridge a.SEM of wall of cartridge (scale 100µm ) b.Same (scale 10µm) c.Lattice of Carbon Nanotubes can be seen (5µm)

10 How the Filter Works The nano-tubes act as a kind of molecular filter, allowing smaller molecules (such as water) to pass through the tubes, while contaminants are too large to pass through. Due to their electronic configuration smaller ions that would otherwise pass through are also blocked

11 Removal of bacteria using nanotube filter a, The unfiltered water containing E. coli bacteria b, The E. coli bacteria (marked by arrows) grown by the culture of the polluted water c, The filtration experiment d, The water filtered through nanotube filter e, The filtrate after culture showing the absence of the bacterial

12 Advantages Much less pressure required to move water across filter Much less pressure required to move water across filter Much more efficient Much more efficient Filter easily cleaned by back flushing Filter easily cleaned by back flushing Selective adsorption properties of nanotube surfaces Selective adsorption properties of nanotube surfaces Incredibly large surface area Incredibly large surface area Manmade nanotube membranes allow fluid flow 10,000 to 100,000 times faster than conventional fluid flow theory would predict Manmade nanotube membranes allow fluid flow 10,000 to 100,000 times faster than conventional fluid flow theory would predict Problems to Overcome Processes need to be designed to mass produce them Processes need to be designed to mass produce them By using a continuous spray pyrolysis method it has been possible to synthesise hollow carbon cylinders various centimetres in diameter and several centimetres long. Larger cylinders needed if this is to become practical By using a continuous spray pyrolysis method it has been possible to synthesise hollow carbon cylinders various centimetres in diameter and several centimetres long. Larger cylinders needed if this is to become practical University of Kentucky

13 Rejection Values Species Sodium Chloride, NaCl99% Sodium Sulfate, Na 2 SO 4 99% Calcium Chloride, CaCl 2 99% Magnesium Sulfate, MgSO 4 >99% Sulfuric Acid, H 2 SO 4 98% Hydrochloric Acid, HCl90% Fructose, MW 180>99% Sucrose, MW 360>99% Humic Acid>99% Viruses99.99% Proteins99.99% Bacteria99.99% Even at the present stage these filters are shown to be very efficient Even better values can be obtained by connecting various filters in series

14 Nano-particles Formation of nanoparticles suitable for the adsorption of arsenic and other large ions in the treatment of drinking water

15 A schematic of how iron nano-particles can be used for the selective removal of groundwater contaminants. Field tests have shown that they can remove up to 98% of contaminants

16 Conclusion Nano-technology could potentially lead to more effective means of filtration that not only remove more impurities than current methods but do so faster, more economically and more selectively Nano-technology could potentially lead to more effective means of filtration that not only remove more impurities than current methods but do so faster, more economically and more selectively


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