In the latest discovery, scientists from the National University of Science and Technology “MISIS” have invented ways of purifying water with the help of graphene. In collaboration with colleagues from Derzhavin Tambov State University and Saratov Chernyshevsky State University, their research invented a way to purify water, without chlorinating it.
Graphene or graphene oxide is carbon nanostructures. They are especially advantageous to the field of Biomedicine. Graphene can potentially destroy bacterial cells, without the additional use of antibiotic drugs. Thus by capturing bacterial cells, it forms flakes, and these flakes can be easily extracted from the water. The team of researchers carried out an experiment by injecting graphene oxide into solutions that contained E.coli. According to the terms of the experiment, saline i.e. simulated water, and the nutrient medium was responsible to simulate human body medium. The results showed that graphene oxide could potentially destroy bacteria from flakes inside the solutions. The residual mass was then extracted and treated with ultrasound. Reports suggest, that graphene could also be separated and reused.
In the experiment, the amount of Graphene oxide used to the nutrient solution was in different concentrations – 0.0025 g/l, 0, 025 g/l, 0.25 g/l and 2.5 g/l. The test proved that even a minimum concentration of graphene oxide in saline (water) was significantly higher than in the nutrient medium (human body). According to the scientists, this was not mechanical, but a biochemical nature of the mechanism of action. Since there were far fewer nutrients in the saline solution, the bacteria moved more actively and was “captured” by the scales of graphene oxide more often.
The research article was published in Materials Science & Engineering C. In conclusion to the experiment, the researchers confirmed that such a purification system could curb additional chlorination. Moreover, decontamination with graphene oxide is low cost, and the technology is also easy to scale the format of large urban wastewater treatment plants.