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Graphene Membranes Superpermeable to Water 292

Posted by Soulskill
from the it-slices-it-dices dept.
Dr Max writes "Not only is graphene the strongest, thinnest and best conducting material known to man, it is now shown to have superpermeability with respect to water as well. This allows a membrane made with graphene to pass water right through it (PDF), while another atom or molecule (even helium) gets blocked. 'The properties are so unusual that it is hard to imagine that they cannot find some use in the design of filtration, separation or barrier membranes and for selective removal of water,' said one of the researchers."
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Graphene Membranes Superpermeable to Water

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  • Super desalination? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Draconi (38078) on Friday January 27, 2012 @11:22AM (#38839607)

    Press and squeeze a hydraulic press of water through a few layers of graphene = no more salty water?

  • by tomhath (637240) on Friday January 27, 2012 @11:30AM (#38839695)

    graphene-based membranes are impermeable to all gases and liquids (vacuum-tight). However, water evaporates through them as quickly as if the membranes were not there at all.

    Thanks for clarifying that. Anyway, this is a very amazing material.

  • Re:Fresh water? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by CastrTroy (595695) on Friday January 27, 2012 @11:32AM (#38839733) Homepage
    If it's really only letting water through, you'd still have to add minerals in at the other end. Last I checked, drinking distilled pure water is probably as bad as drinking salt water.. With salt water your body accumulates too much salt. With distilled water. all the minerals (that your body needs to function) get picked up by the water. However it it works well, it would be simple to add minerals back in after everything had been extracted.
  • Re:Fresh water? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by WebSorcerer (889656) on Friday January 27, 2012 @02:19PM (#38842417)

    I'm a Ph.D. Chemist who has done some water purification studies. One difficulty is the build-up of particulate matter on/in the filter which slows down (eventually stops) flow through the filter.

    This problem can be addressed with the use of two filters in parallel, one of which is being back-flushed while the other operates. With the current types of filters, the system eventually plugs due to micro particulates. Perhaps this Graphine filter is immune to plugging, and merely flushing the surface will clean it.

    As you may have surmised from previous posts, it holds out the possibility of a limitless supply of potable water. What a boon to mankind!!

To spot the expert, pick the one who predicts the job will take the longest and cost the most.