Published On: Fri, Jul 29th, 2016

Grapheme oxide sheets can turn dirty water clean

Woman drinking water.

Woman drinking water.

A group of researchers has arisen with a method to employ “veritable wonder material” graphene oxide sheets to make dirty water clean for a thirsty world. The engineers at Washington University in St. Louis are of the view that the new hybrid nanomaterials could be a global game-changer.

Srikanth Singamaneni has stated that “We hope that for countries where there is ample sunlight, such as India, you will be able to take some dirty water, evaporate it using our material, and collect fresh water,” The latest approach mixes bacteria-produced cellulose and graphene oxide to shape a bi-layered biofoam.

Singamaneni further added that “The process is extremely simple,” Singamaneni continued that “The loveliness is that the nanoscale cellulose fiber network made by bacteria has outstanding capability shift the water from the bulk to the evaporative surface whereas reducing the heat coming down and the entire thing is produced in one shot.

Singamaneni stated that “The design of the material is novel here,” Singamaneni continued by saying that “You have a bi-layered composition with light-absorbing graphene oxide packed nanocellulose at the apex and pristine nanocellulose at the bottom. When you defer this whole thing on water, the water is, in fact, capable to reach the apex surface where evaporation happens.

He further stated that “Light radiates on top of it, and it converts into heat because of the graphene oxide, but the heat dissipation to the bulk water underneath is minimized by the pristine nanocellulose layer. You don’t want to waste the heat; you want to confine the heat to the top layer where the evaporation is actually happening.”

The cellulose at the base of the bi-layered biofoam works as a sponge, depicting water up to the graphene oxide where quick evaporation happens. The resultant fresh water can simply be gathered from the peak of the sheet.

The procedure in which the bi-layered biofoam is in fact shaped is as well new. In a similar way, an oyster creates a gem, the bacteria shapes layers of nanocellulose fibers in which the graphene oxide flakes become set in.

Qisheng Jiang, who is the lead author of the study, said that “whereas we are culturing the bacteria for the cellulose, we put on the graphene oxide flakes into the medium itself,” Qisheng Jiang further added “The graphene oxide becomes embedded as the bacteria produces the cellulose. At a certain point along the process, we stop, remove the medium with the graphene oxide and reintroduce fresh medium. That produces the next layer of our foam. The interface is much powerful; mechanically, it is rather robust.”

The latest biofoam is as well tremendously light and cheap to make, making it a feasible instrument for water cleansing and desalination. The research paper is accessible online in Advanced Materials.


About the Author

Sidra Muntaha

- Sidra Tul Muntaha is a journalist (MA-Mass Communication and M.Phil in Mass Communication) based in Lahore. She is working as an editor at fashion, style and entertainment in the section of the Kooza. She writes fashion and entertainment articles for The Kooza News.

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