Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Drinking water: Nanomembranes could filter bacteria

Date:
February 22, 2011
Source:
University at Buffalo
Summary:
Nanomaterials research could lead to new solutions for an age-old public health problem: how to separate bacteria from drinking water.

New nanomaterials research from the University at Buffalo could lead to new solutions for an age-old public health problem: how to separate bacteria from drinking water.

Related Articles


To the naked eye, both water molecules and germs are invisible -- objects so tiny they are measured by the nanometer, a unit of length about 100,000 times thinner than the width of a human hair.

But at the microscopic level, the two actually differ greatly in size. A single water molecule is less than a nanometer wide, while some of the most diminutive bacteria are a couple hundred.

Working with a special kind of polymer called a block copolymer, a UB research team has synthesized a new kind of nanomembrane containing pores about 55 nanometers in diameter -- large enough for water to slip through easily, but too small for bacteria.

The pore size is the largest anyone has achieved to date using block copolymers, which possess special properties that ensure pores will be evenly spaced, said Javid Rzayev, the UB chemist who led the study. The findings were published online on Jan. 31 in Nano Letters and will appear in the journal's print edition later this year, with UB chemistry graduate student Justin Bolton as lead author.

"These materials present new opportunities for use as filtration membranes," said Rzayev, an assistant professor of chemistry. "Commercial membranes have limitations as far as pore density or uniformity of the pore size. The membranes prepared from block copolymers have a very dense distribution of pores, and the pores are uniform."

"There's a lot of research in this area, but what our research team was able to accomplish is to expand the range of available pores to 50 nanometers in diameter, which was previously unattainable by block-copolymer-based methods," Rzayev continued. "Making pores bigger increases the flow of water, which will translate into cost and time savings. At the same time, 50 to 100 nm diameter pores are small enough not to allow any bacteria through. So, that is a sweet spot for this kind of application."

The new nanomembrane owes its special qualities to the polymers that scientists used to create it. Block copolymers are made up of two polymers that repel one another but are "stitched" together at one end to form the single copolymer.

When many block copolymers are mixed together, their mutual repulsion leads them to assemble in a regular, alternating pattern. The result of that process, called self-assembly, is a solid nanomembrane comprising two different kinds of polymers.

To create evenly spaced pores in the material, Rzayev and colleagues simply removed one of the polymers. The pores' relatively large size was due to the unique architecture of the original block copolymers, which were made from bottle-brush molecules that resemble round hair brushes, with molecular "bristles" protruding all the way around a molecular backbone.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University at Buffalo. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Justin Bolton, Travis S. Bailey, Javid Rzayev. Large Pore Size Nanoporous Materials from the Self-Assembly of Asymmetric Bottlebrush Block Copolymers. Nano Letters, 2011; 110131160735014 DOI: 10.1021/nl103747m

Cite This Page:

University at Buffalo. "Drinking water: Nanomembranes could filter bacteria." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110222140753.htm>.
University at Buffalo. (2011, February 22). Drinking water: Nanomembranes could filter bacteria. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110222140753.htm
University at Buffalo. "Drinking water: Nanomembranes could filter bacteria." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110222140753.htm (accessed January 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Tesla 'Insane Mode' Gives Unsuspecting Passengers the Ride of Their Life

Tesla 'Insane Mode' Gives Unsuspecting Passengers the Ride of Their Life

RightThisMinute (Jan. 29, 2015) — If your car has an "Insane Mode" then you know it&apos;s fast. Well, these unsuspecting passengers were in for one insane ride when they hit the button. Tesla cars are awesome. Video provided by RightThisMinute
Powered by NewsLook.com
Now Bill Gates Is 'Concerned' About Artificial Intelligence

Now Bill Gates Is 'Concerned' About Artificial Intelligence

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) — Bill Gates joins the list of tech moguls scared of super-intelligent machines. He says more people should be concerned, but why? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Senate Passes Bill for Keystone XL Pipeline

Senate Passes Bill for Keystone XL Pipeline

AP (Jan. 29, 2015) — The Republican-controlled Senate has passed a bipartisan bill approving construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. (Jan. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Stunt Pilots Perform Incredibly Close Flyby

Two Stunt Pilots Perform Incredibly Close Flyby

Rumble (Jan. 29, 2015) — Two pilots from &apos;Escuadrilla Argentina de Acrobacia Aιrea&apos; perform an incredibly low altitude flyby stunt during a recent show exhibition in Argentina. Check it out! Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins