According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report, lack of access to safe, clean water is the biggest risk to society over the coming decade. A new graphene-based filter built by Monash University and the University of Kentucky allows water and other liquids to be filtered nine times faster than leading commercial devices.
To create the filter, engineers developed a viscous form of graphene oxide that can be spread very thinly with a blade. Such uniform, even arrangement of the graphene enables the filters to be produced much more quickly and in larger sizes.
“It’s been a race to see who could develop this technology first, because until now graphene-based filters could only be used on a small scale in the lab,” said Associate Professor Mainak Majumder from Monash University.
The graphene technology supports filtering of chemicals, viruses, or bacteria from a range of liquids, including water, dairy products, or wine. According to the engineers, the filter catches any object bigger than one nanometer, which is about 100,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair.
“The ability to control the thickness of the filter and attain a sharper cut-off in separation, and the use of only water as the casting solvent, is a commercial breakthrough,” said University of Kentucky professor Dibakar Bhattacharyya, co-author of the research.
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