New Development in Graphene Market: Researchers have Devised a Graphene Oxide Foam that Help in Removing Uranium from Dirking Water

Posted On September 17, 2021     

Water pollution can be considered as two types one that can be seen by the naked eye, such as plastics and algal bloom that fouls rivers and harm the marine environment and the other that is not so apparent but has a much more dangerous impact on the environment and water resources. Among these invisible substances lies uranium which is responsible for leaching onto the water resources due to activities such as nuclear waste sites, natural subterranean deposits, or mining operations. The increased amounts of such activities have resulted in the wide presence of the element; in fact, it can now be found flowing out of taps all around the world.
To tackle this problem, a research team has successfully devised a highly efficient method that can remove uranium from drinking water. The team has proposed in their study that by applying an electric charge to graphene oxide foam, one can trap and capture the uranium as the solution. The new process might help boost the Graphene Market as the team fashioned graphene foam to solve water pollution problems of the world. The foam has the capability of being reused up to seven times until it loses its electrochemical properties. The process is vastly efficient and can purify a huge amount of water within hours, bringing it under the EPA limit for uranium.
The team objective was to transform the graphene form into something that would easily attract uranium like a magnet. They discovered that if an electrical charge is sent through the foam, water splits into two, thereby releasing hydrogen. They increased the local pH and induced a chemical change that resulted in uranium ions being pulled out from within the solution. The team realized that uranium was grafting onto the foam’s surface and forming a newly see crystallize uranium hydroxide. When the electric charge was reversed, the team found that the mineral, which looked like fish scales, slipped off the foam on its own accord.
The novel filtration process is not only effective but also efficient and clean. Each time the process is applied, the foam captures uranium worth four times its weight, and by this, an extraction capacity of about 4000 mg per gram can be easily achieved. Thus, in comparison to other methods, the present approach is a major improvement. Similarly, the process is also amazing in terms of reusability, as the foam can go through seven cycles before it needs to be disposed of. The graphene foam can be used in seawater as well, denoting that ions in brine do not interfere with its efficiency.

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