Previously we discussed bio-remediation as a process used in environmental disasters such as oil spills and of potential use to the industrial parts washers industry. Scientists continually do research on cleaning technologies as our world grapples with how to deal with more and more complicated pollution generated by humans.
Another technology that shows promises for the remediation of water is the use of graphene. Graphene, a two-dimensional sheet of graphite, is the most stable form of carbon under natural conditions. It has many scientific applications and, up until now, the difficulty has been producing enough quality graphene in large quantities. However, recently scientists have found “they can create high-quality graphene sheets using a kitchen blender and ordinary dishwashing detergent.” Of course, the preferred method of manufacture of graphene will not be kitchen blenders, but if it’s possible to so simply create a decent quality graphene, a number of graphene-based technologies may be just around the corner.
Graphene performs very well as an adsorbent, removing oil, metal ions and organic pollutants from water. Human beings have long used a different form of carbon, activated charcoal, as an adsorbent to remove poisons from their digestive tracts and treat disease. Activated charcoal, as well as graphene, is very porous. All of its tiny holes give it significant surface area relative to its size and allow for the adsorption of an enormous amount of toxins. In a similar way scientists have designed bulky graphene materials for selective adsorption of heavy metal ions, organic pollutants, and and oil from water.
What makes graphene particularly promising, however, is its desorption ability. Not only can graphene selectively adsorb pollutants, but it can desorb them later and remain stable over time. Thus the same graphene can be used over and over again to pull undesirable pollutants and from water, shedding them later so the graphene can be used again and again.
As a maker of industrial parts washers, AEC Systems is of course concerned with the simplest ways to both clean objects and reduce waste byproducts, so any new developments involving the successful remediation of water is good news for us!
By: Ryan Westphal