Monday, September 30, 2013

Water Purification! Carbon vs. Sugar

Currently practiced methods of water filtration involve cyclic carbon molecules chained together which remove contaminants. More specifically, these molecules are referred to as "activated" carbon molecules. These molecules, porous by nature, let through H2O molecules due to their difference in size. The issue with standard carbon filters is the presense of organic molecules in water which accumulate on the surface of the filters because they are too large in size to pass therefore rendering the effectiness of the pores.

The fix: cyclodextrins. This is a combination of cyclic glucose molecules (which are chemically engineered to be insoluble) with carbon and can be altered in size depending on the modifications of the funtional groups on the glucose. Altering size prevents the build up of organic substances on the surface of the filter material. This technology has been tested against certain hormones and been proven successful. One of the largest advantages of this compound is its potential for reuse. The scientists that came up with the complex have cycled it four times and each time it has retured to its originally functioning state. Activated carbon, on the other hand, is one and done.

This article is significant in that the technology represented shows a powerful technological step in the purification of water, something that influences the health and lives of many people around the world.

Activated Carbon
Once made into a filter and used it must be replaced!
Manipulatable, reusable
Todd Whitescarver

Temple University (2013, September 24). New adsorbent is more effective and environmentally friendly for treating wastewater. ScienceDaily. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm pretty sure this is a money saver right? I know that cyclic molecules are harder to manipulate then regular molecules, but still taking a cyclic glucose and fusing it with a few Carbons is probably less expensive than using just carbon, especially since it is re-usable. It might make water filtrations for homes cheaper if they start implementing this for home systems.