Update: Australia’s CSIRO – Tiny (graphene) membrane key to safe drinking water for billions of people around the World


Sydney-harbour

Sydney’s iconic harbour has played a starring role in the development of new CSIRO technology that could save lives around the world.

Using their own specially designed form of graphene, ‘Graphair’, CSIRO scientists have supercharged water purification, making it simpler, more effective and quicker.

The new filtering technique is so effective, water samples from Sydney Harbour were safe to drink after passing through the filter.

The breakthrough research was published today in Nature Communications.

“Almost a third of the world’s population, some 2.1 billion people, don’t have clean and safe drinking water,” the paper’s lead author, CSIRO scientist Dr Dong Han Seo said. CSIRO Membrane download

“As a result, millions — mostly children — die from diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene every year.

“In Graphair we’ve found a perfect filter for water purification. It can replace the complex, time consuming and multi-stage processes currently needed with a single step.”

While graphene is the world’s strongest material and can be just a single carbon atom thin, it is usually water repellent.

Using their Graphair process, CSIRO researchers were able to create a film with microscopic nano-channels that let water pass through, but stop pollutants.

As an added advantage Graphair is simpler, cheaper, faster and more environmentally friendly than graphene to make.

It consists of renewable soybean oil, more commonly found in vegetable oil.

Looking for a challenge, Dr Seo and his colleagues took water samples from Sydney Harbour and ran it through a commercially available water filter, coated with Graphair.

Researchers from QUT, the University of Sydney, UTS, and Victoria University then tested and analysed its water purification qualities.

The breakthrough potentially solves one of the great problems with current water filtering methods: fouling.

Over time chemical and oil based pollutants coat and impede water filters, meaning contaminants have to be removed before filtering can begin. Tests showed Graphair continued to work even when coated with pollutants.

Without Graphair, the membrane’s filtration rate halved in 72 hours.

When the Graphair was added, the membrane filtered even more contaminants (99 per cent removal) faster.

“This technology can create clean drinking water, regardless of how dirty it is, in a single step,” Dr Seo said.

“All that’s needed is heat, our graphene, a membrane filter and a small water pump. We’re hoping to commence field trials in a developing world community next year.”

CSIRO image-20160204-3020-1rpo9r8CSIRO is looking for industry partners to scale up the technology so it can be used to filter a home or even town’s water supply.

It’s also investigating other applications such as the treatment of seawater and industrial effluents.

 

Story Source:

Materials provided by CSIRO AustraliaNote: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Dong Han Seo, Shafique Pineda, Yun Chul Woo, Ming Xie, Adrian T. Murdock, Elisa Y. M. Ang, Yalong Jiao, Myoung Jun Park, Sung Il Lim, Malcolm Lawn, Fabricio Frizera Borghi, Zhao Jun Han, Stephen Gray, Graeme Millar, Aijun Du, Ho Kyong Shon, Teng Yong Ng, Kostya Ostrikov. Anti-fouling graphene-based membranes for effective water desalinationNature Communications, 2018; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-02871-3

Nano-material to revolutionize computing


QDOTS imagesCAKXSY1K 8Nano-material to revolutionize computing

 

 

Jan 7, 2013, 05.37 PM IST: SYDNEY: A two-dimensional  nano-material could usher in nano-transistors and help revolutionise electronics, including ultra fast  computing, says an Australian research.

The new material – made up of layers of crystal known as molybdenum oxides – has unique properties that encourage the free flow of electrons at ultra-high speeds.

Researchers from Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) explain how they adapted a revolutionary material known as graphene to create a new conductive nano-material, the journal Advanced Materials reports.

Graphene created by scientists in Britain won its inventors a  Nobel Prize in 2010. While the new material supports high speed electrons, its physical properties stump high-speed electronics, according to a  CSIRO statement.

Serge Zhuiykov from the CSIRO said the new nano-material was made up of layered sheets – similar to graphite layers that make up a pencil’s core.

“Within these layers, electrons are able to zip through at high speeds with minimal scattering,” Zhuiykov said.

“The importance of our breakthrough is how quickly and fluently electrons – which conduct electricity – are able to flow through the new material,” he added. Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) doctoral researcher Sivacarendran Balendhran led the study.

Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh, professor at the RMIT, said the researchers were able to remove “road blocks” that could obstruct the electrons, an essential step for the development of high-speed electronics.

“While more work needs to be done before we can develop actual gadgets using this new  2D nano-material, this breakthrough lays the foundation for a new electronics revolution and we look forward to exploring its potential,” he adds.