Safe Water — A Nanotechnological Approach
Access to clean, safe drinking water — a basic human right. Or, so we thought…
Over 785 million people across the world don’t have access to a basic drinking-water source. This has researchers around the world trying to find ways to develop forms of water treatment solutions and applications using nanotechnology so that this number can be significantly decreased.
Around 2 billion people are using a contaminated water supply, and in the United States, many cases of contaminated water are well know like in Flint, Newark, Skid Row, etc. Based on current trends and data, it is thought that by 2025 half of the total global population will be living in water-stressed or water-scarce areas which is staggering to say the least.
This problem clearly needs to be addressed and thankfully research points in the direction where nanotech can be used to combat this.
While there are a wide-range of effective water purification methods and techniques like boiling, filtration, oxidation, and distillation, these often use high amounts of energy in which areas with these water problems lack this access. Other treatment processes may include the use of chemical agents, but this only possible in areas with an infrastructure that is well developed.
The more affordable and portable devices currently available are not always as good as they claim to be because they cannot guarantee 100% removal of harmful viruses, bacteria, dust, and even microplastics found in contaminated water.
So, it is thought that nanotechnology could offer affordable and accessible clean water solutions to the world’s most vulnerable populations.
On a basic level, nanotechnology is a process that involves manipulating and controlling matter on the atomic scale (very very small). In the process of water purification, this involves using nanomembranes which, simply put, are filters that separate liquids and gases at the molecular level. These are used to soften the water and remove biological and chemical contaminants as well as other physical particles and molecules.
Further, nanotechnology is portable and can be incorporated into existing commercial devices which…