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Nanotechnology for water purification
Date:7/28/2010

Nanotechnology refers to a broad range of tools, techniques and applications that simply involve particles on the approximate size scale of a few to hundreds of nanometers in diameter. Particles of this size have some unique physicochemical and surface properties that lend themselves to novel uses. Indeed, advocates of nanotechnology suggest that this area of research could contribute to solutions for some of the major problems we face on the global scale such as ensuring a supply of safe drinking water for a growing population, as well as addressing issues in medicine, energy, and agriculture.

Writing in the International Journal of Nuclear Desalination, researchers at the D.J. Sanghvi College of Engineering, in Mumbai, India, explain that there are several nanotechnology approaches to water purification currently being investigated and some already in use. "Water treatment devices that incorporate nanoscale materials are already available, and human development needs for clean water are pressing," Alpana Mahapatra and colleagues Farida Valli and Karishma Tijoriwala, explain.

Water purification using nanotechnology exploits nanoscopic materials such as carbon nanotubes and alumina fibers for nanofiltration, it also utilizes the existence of nanoscopic pores in zeolite filtration membranes, as well as nanocatalysts and magnetic nanoparticles. Nanosensors, such as those based on titanium oxide nanowires or palladium nanoparticles are used for analytical detection of contaminants in water samples.

The impurities that nanotechnology can tackle depend on the stage of purification of water to which the technique is applied, the team adds. It can be used for removal of sediments, chemical effluents, charged particles, bacteria and other pathogens. They explain that toxic trace elements such as arsenic, and viscous liquid impurities such as oil can also be removed using nanotechnology.

"The main advantages of using nanofilters, a
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Contact: Alpana Mahapatra
m_alpana1@rediffmail.com
Inderscience Publishers
Source:Eurekalert

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