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 September 17, 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 September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 16, 2014) — Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' startup will team up with Boeing and Lockheed to develop rocket engines as Elon Musk races to have his rockets certified. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
MIT's Robot Cheetah Unleashed — Can Now Run, Jump Freely

MIT's Robot Cheetah Unleashed — Can Now Run, Jump Freely

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) — MIT developed a robot modeled after a cheetah. It can run up to speeds of 10 mph, though researchers estimate it will eventually reach 30 mph. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) — Automobile manufacturer Local Motors created a drivable electric car using a 3-D printer. Printing the body only took 44 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 15, 2014) — New York officials unveil subway tunnels that were refurbished after Superstorm Sandy. Nathan Frandino reports. Video provided by Reuters
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