A lighter LifeSaver water filter?

By | January 31, 2012
A while ago there was a neat TED talk on a nano-filtration system used to create water bottles which could filter almost anything (including industrial waste runoff) to produce safe drinking water. If I read correctly, Graphene may prove to be a more lightweight alternative to that filter system. This could save lives in areas in which water pumps keep breaking down and /or only dirty water is available… Or as a filter in your standard water bottle, not to mention the industrial applications…

Reshared post from +EuroTech

UK scientists find weird capabilities of new graphene material!
Ever wanted to distill your own booze or get into drugs smuggling? Look no further than this reseach paper

Researchers at the University of Manchester in the UK have shown a very peculiar property of graphene. It seems that the material acts as a membrane for all liquids and gasses except water. This includes helium, an inert and very small particle. In fact, evaporated water seems to pass through it as though there was no barrier there in the first place!

Graphene is a wonder material. It is not only the thinnest material known to man, it is also the strongest. In addition to these impressive characteristics, it also conducts heat and electricity very proficiently. The list of superlatives (as their article poignantly states) continues with it being one of the stiffest and most ductile materials known to man.

The graphene was specially prepared in layers with OH- molecules scattered about the surface of each layer. These layers, were thin enough to only allow water to pass through, and stacked into a laminate that was easy to handle.

The Manchester researchers found that laminate made from these thin sheets of graphene oxid were hundreds of times thinner than a human hair but remained strong, flexible and easy to handle.

When measured with very sensitive equipment, it was found that only evaporated water passed the barrier and is theorized that the graphene capillaries shrink in low humidity environments or get clogged with water molecules. Thus, only water passes, and even tiny helium is restricted.

Naturally, the team used it to seal a bottle of vodka, and found it to become stronger and stronger as the water evaporated from the drink, but the alcohol remained! Now they claim none of them actually drinks alcohol, but we suspect there must have been a reason for this specific test 🙂

This could have huge implications for perfect zero-power water filtration including desalination, and empower unique materials that require the passage of water and nothing else.

Most importantly it poses yet another question: are there any other secrets hidden up the sleeves of graphene? It is an amazing material that continues to astonish.

The original discovery has won Andrei Geim and Konstantin Novoselov of the Manchester University the Nobel Prize in physics in 2010 after their first publication in 2004. It´s rare that such a recent discovery is already rewarded with this prestigious price.

It shows that scientists all over the world are fascinated by graphene but so far the British university seems to be in the lead to find new aspects of the new wonder material.

Now we can add home brew liquor to that list and although the researchers don´t mention it, smuggling drugs just became a bit easier as not even a trained dog will be able to find it!

#science #graphene #Europe #EuroTech
Author: +Sean Lumly

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