The water treatment method can remove large contaminants and smaller micropollutants in one step
Researchers from Yale University and Peking University developed a water treatment method inspired by Actinia, a sea organism that ensnares its prey with tentacles. The method uses a nanocoagulant to target contaminants in drinking water. By removing a large range of contaminants at once, the process improves on previous uses of coagulants for water treatment, as reported by Science Daily.
Conventional coagulants remove larger particles from water by causing them to group together, but generally additional treatment is required. The new technique, published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, uses a synthesized highly stable nanocoagulant different from conventional coagulants. This new material removes suspended particles and small dissolved contaminants.
Modeled after a sea organism known as Actinia, the nanocoagulant has a core-shell structure that turns inside-out in water to destabilize and capture larger contaminants, as well as smaller micropollutants.
“The ability to remove nitrate was quite surprising, as traditional water coagulants exhibit negligible removal of nitrate,” said Menachem Elimelech, a Yale professor and researcher on the project, in collaboration with Huazhang Zhao of Peking University.
“It also opens doors for fabricating smart materials that can transform configurations and function in response to its environment,” said Zhao.