Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Colloidal Adsorbent Removes Natural Organic Matter From Water Supply

24.08.2004


Microbial degradation products and other forms of natural organic matter can make water look, smell and taste bad. Natural organic matter also can foul the membranes used in water treatment plants, significantly reducing their efficiency.

Now, a polymer-based colloidal adsorbent developed at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers an environmentally friendly and cost-effective way of removing troublesome natural organic matter from municipal water supplies.

"Natural organic matter can react with chemical disinfectants such as chlorine to produce chloroform and other carcinogens in our drinking water," said Mark Clark, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Illinois and a researcher at the Center of Advanced Materials for Purification of Water With Systems on campus. "Ensuring a safe and clean water supply without forming dangerous byproducts is a major problem."



One solution, he said, is to remove more of the harmful bacteria by using advanced filtration processes that utilize synthetic membranes made from polymer. Less chlorine would then be needed, which would reduce the formation of potentially dangerous chlorinated compounds. The problematic membrane fouling from natural organic matter could be avoided by adding the new colloidal adsorbent.

Several years ago, Clark and Robert Riley, a polymer chemist with Separation Systems Technology in California, invented the technology for producing a colloidal adsorbent from polysulfone - the same organic polymer used for water purification membranes. A patent was issued late last year.

To create their cleaning colloids, Clark and his students inject a solution of polysulfone into water under controlled mixing conditions. The polysulfone precipitates into colloidal particles about 50-60 nanometers in diameter, which then aggregate into clusters about 12-20 microns in diameter.

The pore size of the clusters is perfect for trapping natural organic matter, Clark said. The very high surface area of the particles also creates a large adsorption capacity.

"The particles work better than activated carbon for collecting natural organic foulants," Clark said. "The colloids can be easily regenerated chemically, and they significantly reduce membrane fouling." Not all natural organic matter fouls membranes, however. "A large percentage passes through the membrane with no problem," Clark said. "Only about 5 to 10 percent of the material actually causes a problem."

Now that the researchers have trapped the offending material in their adsorbent, they want to analyze it with advanced organic chemistry techniques. "We want to identify the material and characterize the nature of its interaction with the adsorbent," said Clark, who will discuss the colloidal adsorbent at the 228th American Chemical Society national meeting in Philadelphia. "Then we can look for ways to further improve both the adsorbent and the membrane."

The National Science Foundation and National Water Research Institute funded the work.

James E. Kloeppel | University of Illinois
Further information:
http://www.uiuc.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Listening in: Acoustic monitoring devices detect illegal hunting and logging
14.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

nachricht How fires are changing the tundra’s face
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New technique could make captured carbon more valuable

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

A chip for environmental and health monitoring

15.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>