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Plasma-modified CNTs show promise for water purification

By Paul Grad |

An international team of researchers claims to have developed carbon nanotube (CNT) membranes with an ultrahigh specific-adsorption capacity for salt that is two orders of magnitude higher than that found in current activated-carbon-based water-treatment systems. The team includes researchers from Singapore University of Technology and Design (www.sutd.edu.sg), CSIRO’s Materials Science and Engineering (Sydney, Australia; www.csiro.au), Hong Kong Polytechnic University (www.polyu.edu.hk), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, Mass.; www.mit.edu). The team says the membranes can be integrated into portable water purification devices that would be rechargeable, inexpensive and more effective than many existing filtration methods. Such portable devices are expected to be more cost effective than large, existing desalination and purification plants, which consume large amounts of energy and are labor-intensive, and therefore costly to run. Existing small portable devices rely on reverse osmosis (RO) and thermal processes. They are able to remove salt ions but are unable to filter out organic contaminants from the briny waters of some rivers and lakes. The team has demonstrated that the plasma treatment of CNTs…
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