Desalination techniques that use a new nanopore geometry to move seawater into potable water have their molecular mechanisms for water flow identified by researchers. As a result of the research, new RO (reverse osmosis) systems utilizing carbon nanotube-based membranes can be designed. Researchers from IIT Madras, Swinburne University of Technology in Australia, and Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands studied how water is transported inside nanoscale nanotube structures. Desalination, a renowned journal, published their findings.
- Researchers from IIT Madras, Swinburne University of Technology in Australia, and Delft University of technology in the Netherlands studied how water is transported inside nanoscale nanotube structures.
- They drew inspiration from nature, specifically biological systems, for the development of efficient desalination membranes.
- As a result of the research, new RO (reverse osmosis) systems utilizing carbon nanotubes-based membranes can be designed.
- The study was published in Desalination, the peer-reviewed journal, are the findings of this study.
- More than 100 million people will be impacted by groundwater depletion in 21 major Indian cities, including Chennai and New Delhi.
Molecular mechanisms for water flow through a new nanopore geometry for desalination techniques to convert seawater to drinking water have been identified by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras researchers.
Researchers from Swinburne University of Technology, Australia, and the Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands, collaborated on a study that aims to improve the design of carbon nanotube-based RO (reverse osmosis) systems.
They drew inspiration from nature, specifically biological systems, for the development of efficient desalination membranes.
Project funding for this study came from DST, India’s Department of Science and Technology (DST), responsible for developing India’s water technology (WTI).
More than 100 million people will be impacted by groundwater depletion in 21 major Indian cities, including Chennai and New Delhi, by 2030, according to a report from the National Institute of Industrial and Strategic Research (NITI Aayog). For domestic and industrial use, scientists worldwide are investigating methods for repurposing saltwater from seas and oceans.
Desalinating seawater has been suggested to solve India’s water shortages because the country has a coastline of around 7,000 kilometers. Many desalination technologies are available today, but their high energy consumption limits their widespread adoption.
It was led at IIT Madras by Sarith P Sathian, Department of Applied Mechanics. His team has been developing better desalination membranes using nanoscale water transport through carbon nanotubes and graphene nanopores.
Sridhar Kumar Kannam from Swinburne University of Technology, Australia, Vishnu Prasad Kurupath, and Remco Hartkamp from the Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands, were part of the team.
Published in Desalination, the peer-reviewed journal, are the findings of this study.
In the long run, the following are the potential practical applications of this research:
- The method of separating the solvent from the solute.
- membranes that can be altered and/or selectively transported (ion selectivity and drug delivery).
- Analyzing and comparing the nanopore geometries of various materials inspired by biological processes.
- For the development of artificial organs, water dynamics inside biological nanopores are being studied.
Because of the hydrodynamic resistance at their entrance, graphitic carbon materials’ tube-like structures have lower permeation rates than conventional RO membranes, despite studies showing that they can permeate more water. Biological systems for making efficient desalination membranes were a source of inspiration for the research team to solve this problem.
According to Sathian, “Our study has opened up the inside view of water and ion permeation through nanoporous CNTs. They shed light on the mechanisms that allow water to pass through hourglass-shaped nanopores more easily. Because of this, it is possible to use a different system of nanopores to achieve a higher desalination efficiency. First and foremost, the membrane’s ability to reject ions during desalination is an important consideration. According to our research, the CNT size has a major impact on ion rejection. A nanopore geometry with high permeation capacity and low ion rejection could thus be conceived.”
@iitmadras researchers have identified molecular mechanisms for desalination techniques that can help convert seawater to drinking water. Findings will also help to design novel reverse osmosis systems with carbon nanotubes-based membranes.https://t.co/wMTnip70Lx pic.twitter.com/nrgenlrtcg— IIT Madras (@iitmadras) November 18, 2021