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Quote of the day

When seen through the lens of technology, few resources are truly scarce; they’re mainly inaccessible. 

 

Peter Diamandis

A piece of a tree could make an excellent, cheap water filter

RATE THIS! +18
Posted in Science on 3rd Mar, 2014 12:39 AM by AlexMuller

In big American cities with lousy water, a Brita pitcher might feel like as much of a household item as a glass. It’s old tech, though, rapidly being surpassed by other methods, such ultraviolet water-filtering pitchers or insanely fancy ones that can filter 11 liters of water in a sitting.

 

But for developing countries, water filters of any sort are rarely practical or affordable. However, diseases can thrive in the waters of developing nations, to the point that having a water filter can literally be a matter of life or death.

 
Scientists at MIT might have found a solution to this problem. Researchers have crafted water filters made from the sapwood of white pine trees that can filter out 99 percent of that infamous bacteria E. Coli from contaminated water.
 
Sapwood is simply the part of a tree where sap flows, and it has millions of tiny pores, which are just big enough to let water pass while trapping bacteria. Sapwood filters out anything that’s 70 nanometers or larger, and most bacteria is larger than 200 nanometers.
 
Viruses tend to be much smaller, but this filtration method is pretty much how today’s water filters work anyhow: as co-author of the study Rohit Karnik explains, "today’s filtration membranes have nanoscale pores that are not something you can manufacture in a garage very easily. The idea here is that we don’t need to fabricate a membrane, because it’s easily available. You can just take a piece of wood and make a filter out of it."

Tags: waterdiseasepurificationpine treesbacteria

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-03
+2
For the developing world any new ideas for water filtration have to be affordable - this is one that should do a good job and also have reasonable cost
2 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-03
+2
It is great that the researchers will continue searching for other plant materials that would in addition also block viruses- this is very good idea Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-03
+1
I think that their ultimate goal is amazing! It could be so simple to just take a bark off a tree, filter water through it, and have clean drinking water. However, one first needs to know which plant to use and find it - good luck! Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-03
+1
Some other new ways have been recently reported. Researchers succeeded in creating subnanoscale pores in a sheet of graphene, a development that could lead to ultrathin filters for improved desalination or water purification. Reply


 

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