Can Graphene Make the World’s Water Clean?

Graphene water filter

In the 2015 World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report survey participants ranked Water Crises as the biggest of all risks, higher than Weapons of Mass Destruction, Interstate Conflict and the Spread of Infectious Diseases (pandemics). Our dependence on the availability of fresh water is well documented, and the United Nations World Water Development Report 2015 highlights a 40% global shortfall between forecast water demand and available supply within the next fifteen years. Agriculture accounts for much of the demand, up to 90% in most of the world’s least-developed countries, and there is a clear relationship between water availability, health, food production and the potential for civil unrest or interstate conflict.

The looming crisis is not limited to water for drinking or agriculture. Heavy metals from urban pollution are finding their way into the aquatic ecosystem, as are drug residues and nitrates from fertilizer use that can result in massive algal blooms. To date, there has been little to stop this accretion of pollutants and in closed systems such as lakes these pollutants are being concentrated with unknown long term effects.

While current solutions such as reverse osmosis exist, and are widely used in the water desalination of seawater, the water they produce is expensive. This is because high pressures are required to force the waster through a membrane and maintaining this pressure requires around 2kWh for every cubic meter of water. While this is less of an issue for countries with cheap energy, it puts the technology beyond the reach of most of the world’s population.

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iNanotube for iOS — Animated, Engaging Visualizations of Nanotechnology

iNanotube

It’s been available for several months now but I’m sure the developer of this brilliant app will be happy with a bit of free publicity; iNanotube 1.1 for IOS allows customers to style and create a nanotube (an atomic sized) making use of the app’s easy program. Construction and treatment of these small wires is easily obtained through the touchscreen interface, which allows manipulating a piece of graphene into the form of a nanotube. The app provides immediate online design of the small components, made from the most effective and stiffest material yet found, which are too small to be seen with even the highest resolution microscopes.

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Graphene Oxide’s effectiveness as a nanomedicine.

Medicine is one of the highest achievements of the human species and graphene is about to play its part in the most recent and exciting developments in the discipline; that is in the emerging domain of nanomedicine.  Concerns for health and well-being have inspired some of the boldest innovations in history and nanomedicine continues in the great tradition of these pioneering advances. Born of interdisciplinary work in the fields of bioengineering, physics, chemistry and medicine, nanomedicine is increasingly looking to the material properties of graphene to assist in some of its most interesting projects.

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