Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Nanotubes help to solve desalination problem

Abstract:
A team of researchers from The Australian National University have discovered a way to remove salt from seawater using nanotubes made from boron and nitrogen atoms that will make the process up to five times faster.

Nanotubes help to solve desalination problem

Australia | Posted on August 26th, 2009

With 25 percent of the world's population currently affected by water shortages, researchers Dr Tamsyn Hilder, Dr Dan Gordon and group leader Professor Shin-Ho Chung from the Computational Biophysics Group at the Research School of Biology at ANU have come up with a way to eliminate all salt from seawater whilst maintaining high water flow rates. Their results have been published in the journal Small.

With population growth and climate change limiting the world's fresh water stores, desalination and demineralisation are fast becoming feasible solutions. However, there is an urgent need to make the process of desalination more effective and less costly than current methods. Nanotechnology-based water purification devices, such as those proposed by Hilder, Gordon and Chung, have the potential to transform the field of desalination.

"Boron nitride nanotubes can be thought of as a hollow cylindrical tube made up of boron and nitrogen atoms," said Dr Hilder. "These nanotubes are incredibly small, with diameters less than one-billionth of a meter, or 10,000 times smaller than the thickness of a single strand of human hair.

"Current desalination methods force seawater through a filter using energies four times larger than necessary. Throughout the desalination process salt must be removed from one side of the filter to avoid the need to apply even larger energies.

"Using boron nitride nanotubes, and the same operating pressure as current desalination methods, we can achieve 100 percent salt rejection for concentrations twice that of seawater with water flowing four times faster, which means a much faster and more efficient desalination process."

Hilder, Gordon and Chung use computational tools to simulate the water and salt moving through the nanotube. They found that the boron nitride nanotubes not only eliminate salt but also allow water to flow through extraordinarily fast, comparable to biological water channels naturally found in the body.

"Our research also suggests the possibility of engineering simple nanotubes that mimic some of the functions of complex biological nanotubes or nanochannels," said Professor Chung, and work is continuing to investigate these possibilities further. These devices, once successfully manufactured, may be used for antibiotics, ultra-sensitive detectors or anti-cancer drugs.

A copy of the paper is available at: dx.doi.org/10.1002/smll.200900349

####

About Australian National University
ANU was established by the Chifley government in 1946 to build the nationís intellectual infrastructure. We are still driven by our founding mission to advance the cause of learning and research in Australia and take our place amongst the great universities of the world. Explore this gateway to find out more about our history, governance and structure, our campus and our community.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
For interviews:
Dr Tamsyn Hilder
02 6125 4034 / 0401 481 575

Professor Shin-Ho Chung
02 6125 2024 / 0400 195 897

For media assistance:
Penny Cox
02 6125 3549 / 0424 016 978

Copyright © Australian National University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Ag/ZnO-Nanorods Schottky diodes based UV-PDs are fabricated and tested May 26th, 2017

New metamaterial-enhanced MRI technique tested on humans May 26th, 2017

Controlling 3-D behavior of biological cells using laser holographic techniques May 26th, 2017

Unveiling the quantum necklace: Researchers simulate quantum necklace-like structures in superfluids May 26th, 2017

Possible Futures

Ag/ZnO-Nanorods Schottky diodes based UV-PDs are fabricated and tested May 26th, 2017

New metamaterial-enhanced MRI technique tested on humans May 26th, 2017

Controlling 3-D behavior of biological cells using laser holographic techniques May 26th, 2017

Unveiling the quantum necklace: Researchers simulate quantum necklace-like structures in superfluids May 26th, 2017

Nanotubes/Buckyballs/Fullerenes/Nanorods

Ag/ZnO-Nanorods Schottky diodes based UV-PDs are fabricated and tested May 26th, 2017

Fed grant backs nanofiber development: Rice University joins Department of Energy 'Next Generation Machines' initiative May 10th, 2017

Nanotubes that build themselves April 14th, 2017

Intertronics introduce new nanoparticle deagglomeration technology March 15th, 2017

Announcements

Ag/ZnO-Nanorods Schottky diodes based UV-PDs are fabricated and tested May 26th, 2017

New metamaterial-enhanced MRI technique tested on humans May 26th, 2017

Controlling 3-D behavior of biological cells using laser holographic techniques May 26th, 2017

Unveiling the quantum necklace: Researchers simulate quantum necklace-like structures in superfluids May 26th, 2017

Water

Using light to propel water : With new method, MIT engineers can control and separate fluids on a surface using only visible light April 25th, 2017

Graphene holds up under high pressure: Used in filtration membranes, ultrathin material could help make desalination more productive April 24th, 2017

Wood filter removes toxic dye from water April 21st, 2017

Shedding light on the absorption of light by titanium dioxide April 14th, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project