IIT Scientists discover a new way to make seawater drinkable

A multinational team consisting of scientists from IIT-Madras, Swinburne University of Technology (Australia), and Delft University of Technology (the Netherlands), has developed a new method to turn seawater into freshwater. Using this method, saline seawater can be converted into drinkable freshwater.

Source: Unsplash

What did the scientists do?

Scientists improved the already known permeation capabilities of graphitic carbon materials, using carbon nanotubes and graphene nanopores. Earlier, the problem was that the tube-like structure of these pores caused hydrodynamic resistance and got in the way of permeation.

Taking a cue from nature, a conical/hourglass-shaped inlet was used to let water in. This inlet resembles the shape of the aquaporin proteins found in the body. By permeation, water will pass through, such that the water and salts are separated.

The team leader, Professor Sarith P. Sathian, emphasizing the importance of shapes, said that the hourglass-shaped nanopores will help in better permeation and provide higher desalination efficiency.

Source: Vigyan Prasar

The team comprised of Vishnu Prasad Kurupath from IIT Madras, Dr. Sridhar Kumar Kannam from Swinburne University of Technology, Australia, and Dr. Remco Hartkamp, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands. The study's findings were published in the journal called "Desalination".

Source: Vigyan Prasar

How is this important?

This new way to treat seawater is extremely important, given the threat to our freshwater sources due to climate change.

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