Jul 292017

Plain quartz fiber, top, gains the ability to remove toxic metals from water when carbon nanotubes are added, bottom. The filters absorbed more than 99 percent of metals from test samples laden with cadmium, cobalt, copper, mercury, nickel and lead. Once saturated, the filters can be washed and reused. Courtesy of the Barron Research Group

Rice shows reusable, carbon nanotube-reinforced filters clean toxins from water

Carbon nanotubes immobilized in a tuft of quartz fiber have the power to remove toxic heavy metals from water, according to researchers at Rice University.

Prize-winning filters produced in the lab of Rice chemist Andrew Barron by then-high school student and lead author Perry Alagappan absorb more than 99 percent of metals from samples laden with cadmium, cobalt, copper, mercury, nickel and lead. Once saturated, the filters can be washed with a mild household chemical like vinegar and reused.

The researchers calculated one gram of the material could treat 83,000 liters of contaminated water to meet World Health Organization standards — enough to supply the daily needs of 11,000 people.

The lab’s analysis of the new filters appears this month in Nature’s open-access Scientific Reports.

The robust filters consist of carbon nanotubes grown in place on quartz fibers that are then chemically epoxidized. Lab tests showed that scaled-up versions of the “supported-epoxidized carbon nanotube” (SENT) filters proved able to treat 5 liters of water in less than one minute and be renewed in 90 seconds. The material retained nearly 100 percent of its capacity to filter water for up to 70 liters per 100 grams of SENT, after which the metals contained could be extracted for reuse or turned into a solid for safe disposal.

While the quartz substrate gives the filter form and the carbon nanotube sheath makes it tough, the epoxidation via an oxidizing acid appears to be most responsible for adsorbing the metal, they determined.

An electron microscope image shows quartz fibers with carbon nanotubes grown in place.

An electron microscope image shows quartz fibers with carbon nanotubes grown in place. Courtesy of the Barron Research Group

Alagappan, now an undergraduate student at Stanford University, was inspired to start the project during a trip to India, where he learned about contamination of groundwater from the tons of electronic waste — phones, computers and the like — that improperly end up in landfills.

“Perry contacted me wanting to gain experience in laboratory research,” Barron said. “Since we had an ongoing project started by Jessica Heimann, an undergraduate who was taking a semester at Jacobs University Bremen, this was a perfect match.”

Barron said the raw materials for the filter are inexpensive and pointed out the conversion of acetic acid to vinegar is ubiquitous around the globe, which should simplify the process of recycling the filters for reuse even in remote locations. “Every culture on the planet knows how to make vinegar,” he said.

“This would make the biggest social impact on village-scale units that could treat water in remote, developing regions,” Barron said. “However, there is also the potential to scale up metal extraction, in particular from mine wastewater.”

Learn more: Heavy metals in water meet their match


The Latest on: Toxic heavy metals
  • Punish U.S. Steel for Repeated Toxic Chromium Spills
    on November 18, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    Goal: Punish steel producers for repeated spills of toxic heavy metals which threaten wildlife and public health. In late October, the U.S. Steel facility in the city of Portage, Indiana experienced a chemical spill which resulted in the release of 57 ... […]

  • How to Detox Heavy Metals Safely (& Get More Energy)
    on November 18, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    There are about 23 heavy metals in total that can be especially toxic. Doing all we can to limit exposure is one half of the battle, but there are certain steps we can take to help our bodies process and eliminate heavy metals. Unfortunately, heavy metals ... […]

  • Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy for Rapid Discrimination of Heavy-Metal-Contaminated Seafood Tegillarca granosa
    on November 17, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    Tegillarca granosa samples contaminated artificially by three kinds of toxic heavy metals including zinc (Zn), cadmium (Cd), and lead (Pb) were attempted to be distinguished using laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) technology and pattern ... […]

  • BLACK WAIL Explores New Jersey's Toxic Waste With "Chromium Homes," New Album In December
    on November 16, 2017 at 10:59 am

    Black Wail, the band once hailed by MetalSucks as "achingly melancholy to High on Fire heavy," is back with a new album called Chromium Homes on December 15 via Rhyme & Reason Records. The band is streaming the title track from its new album through us ... […]

  • U.S. Steel dumps more toxic chromium near Lake Michigan, faces lawsuit
    on November 14, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    Six months after U.S. Steel dumped a plume of toxic metal into a Lake Michigan tributary ... to secure the first court decision forcing the company's Gary Works to reduce the amount of heavy metals and other waste it dumped into Lake Michigan and the ... […]

  • Red Flag! How To Find Non-Toxic, Vegan Red Lipsticks
    on November 11, 2017 at 2:46 am

    many people equate ‘vegan lipstick’ with ‘non-toxic’ or ‘eco-friendly’ – and that is simply NOT the case. Brands like Color Pop, Kylie Kosmetics and Lime Crime are actually packed with the nasty heavy metals mentioned above. Confused? […]

    on November 10, 2017 at 7:27 am

    Heavy metal toxicity—from metals such as mercury, aluminum, copper, cadmium, nickel, arsenic, and lead—represents one of the greatest threats to our health and well-being.” ~ Anthony William, author of Medical Medium: Secrets Behind Chronic and ... […]

  • Heavy metals – A SAFE detoxification protocol
    on November 8, 2017 at 10:15 pm

    On the next NaturalHealth365 Talk Hour, Jonathan Landsman and heavy metals detoxification expert Dr. Chris Shade reveal the unpopular truth about these highly-toxic metals and, most importantly, a protocol for safe detoxification. This program will outline ... […]

  • Nigeria: Toxic Towns - Testing Toxicity in Kaduna Villages
    on November 7, 2017 at 2:11 am

    He said toxic wastes from refineries either pollute the air ... they can lead to health problems‎ because they contain some heavy metals. Group General Manager, Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, said the corporation has an efficient ... […]

  • Glasses decorated with cartoon characters or festive designs could contain harmful levels of toxic metals including lead
    on November 5, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    The study states that the health dangers of heavy metals come from 'the accumulation of low ... while retailers and the glass industry have the responsibility to eliminate toxic metals from decorated products.' […]

via Google News and Bing News

Other Interesting Posts

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: