Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New desalination process developed using carbon nanotubes

Date:
March 15, 2011
Source:
New Jersey Institute of Technology
Summary:
A faster, better and cheaper desalination process enhanced by carbon nanotubes has just been developed. The process creates a unique new architecture for the membrane distillation process by immobilizing carbon nanotubes in the membrane pores. Conventional approaches to desalination are thermal distillation and reverse osmosis.

This is NJIT professor Somenath Mitra working in his lab.
Credit: New Jersey Institute of Technology

A faster, better and cheaper desalination process enhanced by carbon nanotubes has been developed by NJIT Professor Somenath Mitra. The process creates a unique new architecture for the membrane distillation process by immobilizing carbon nanotubes in the membrane pores. Conventional approaches to desalination are thermal distillation and reverse osmosis.

"Unfortunately the current membrane distillation method is too expensive for use in countries and municipalities that need potable water," said Mitra. "Generally only industry, where waste heat is freely available, uses this process. However, we're hoping our new work will have far-reaching consequences bringing good, clean water to the people who need it."

The process is outlined by Mitra and his research team in the current issue of the American Chemistry Society's Applied Materials & Interfaces. Doctoral students Ken Gethard and Ornthida Sae-Khow worked on the project. Mitra is chairman of the department of chemistry and environmental science.

Membrane distillation is a water purification process in which heated salt water passes through a tube-like membrane, called a hollow fiber. "Think of your intestines," said Mitra. "It's designed in such a way that nutrition passes through but not the waste." Using a similar structure, membrane distillation allows only water vapor to pass through the walls of the hollow tube, but not the liquid. When the system works, potable water emerges from the net flux of water vapor which moves from the warm to the cool side. At the same time, saline or salt water passes as body waste would through the fiber.

Membrane distillation offers several advantages. It's a clean, non-toxic technology and can be carried out at 60-90ēC. This temperature is significantly lower than conventional distillation which uses higher temperatures. Reverse osmosis uses relatively high pressure.

Nevertheless, membrane distillation is not trouble free. It is costly and getting the membrane to work properly and efficiently can be difficult. "The biggest challenge," said Mitra, "is finding appropriate membranes that encourage high water vapor flux but prevent salt from passing through."

Mitra's new method creates a better membrane by immobilizing carbon nanotubes in the pores. The novel architecture not only increases vapor permeation but also prevents liquid water from clogging the membrane pores. Test outcomes show dramatic increases in both reductions in salt and water production. "That's a remarkable accomplishment and one we are proud to publish," said Mitra.

Another advantage is that the new process can facilitate membrane distillation at a relatively lower temperature, higher flow rate and higher salt concentration. Compared to a plain membrane, this new distillation process demonstrates the same level of salt reduction at a 20°C lower temperature, and at a flow rate six times greater.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by New Jersey Institute of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ken Gethard, Ornthida Sae-Khow, Somenath Mitra. Water Desalination Using Carbon-Nanotube-Enhanced Membrane Distillation. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2011; 3 (2): 110 DOI: 10.1021/am100981s

Cite This Page:

New Jersey Institute of Technology. "New desalination process developed using carbon nanotubes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110314140632.htm>.
New Jersey Institute of Technology. (2011, March 15). New desalination process developed using carbon nanotubes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110314140632.htm
New Jersey Institute of Technology. "New desalination process developed using carbon nanotubes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110314140632.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) — British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

AP (July 30, 2014) — A ruptured 93-year-old water main left the UCLA campus awash in 8 million gallons of water in the middle of California's worst drought in decades. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow

Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow

AP (July 30, 2014) — Smartphone powered paper airplane that was popular on crowdfunding website KickStarter makes its debut at Wisconsin airshow (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.K. To Allow Driverless Cars On Public Roads

U.K. To Allow Driverless Cars On Public Roads

Newsy (July 30, 2014) — Driverless cars could soon become a staple on U.K. city streets, as they're set to be introduced to a few cities in 2015. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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