The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.

Nanoscavengers – the next generation of water purifiers?

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This new technology could be the answer to water pollution.

The disc-like synthetic nanoscavengers collected magnetically. (Credit: Mingliang Zhang, Stanford School of Engineering)

Among its many talents, silver is an antibiotic. Titanium dioxide is known to glom on to certain heavy metals and pollutants. Other materials do the same for salt. In recent years, environmental engineers have sought to disinfect, depollute, and desalinate contaminated water using nanoscale particles of these active materials. Engineers call them nanoscavengers. The hitch from a technical standpoint is that it is nearly impossible to reclaim the nanoscavengers once in the water.
In a paper published online May 14 in the journal Nature Communications, an interdisciplinary team of engineers at Stanford University announces it has developed a new type of nanoscavenger with a synthetic core that is ultraresponsive to magnetism, allowing the easy and efficient recovery of virtually every one of the nanoscale purifiers.
“In contaminated water nanoscavengers float around, randomly bumping into and killing bacteria or attaching themselves to the molecular pollutants they are after,” said Shan Wang, the study’s senior author and a professor ofmaterial science and engineering and jointly of electrical engineering. “When the contaminants are either stuck to the nanoscavenger or dead, the magnet is turned on and the particles vanish.”
The entire article is at Freak Scientist. You can link to the site from the Blogroll.
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Author: Daniela

I was born in Croatia, at that time Yugoslavia. My family moved to the US when I was very young, but I still treasure the memories of my grandfather teaching me how to protect myself against the "evil eye," my grandmother shopping early every morning, at the open air market, to buy the freshest vegetables for the day's meals, and the traditions that were the underpinnings of our society. Someone once noted that "For all of us that want to move forward, there are a very few that want to keep the old methods of production, traditions and crafts alive." I am a fellow traveler with those who value the old traditions and folk wisdom. I believe the knowledge they possess can contribute significantly to our efforts to build a more sustainable world; one that values the individual over the corporation, conservation over growth and happiness over wealth.

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