A new nano-material fabricated by researchers from King Saud University proved its worth in removing heavy metals from polluted wastewater. The novel material is both inexpensive to produce and deploy, and highly reusable, making it ideal for industrial treatment purposes.
Water pollution is a very real problem that harms countless animals and human beings. It is mainly the result of industrial activities, mainly in the papermaking, tannery, mining, textile, and battery manufacturing sectors. Nearly three quarters of all untreated wastewater is discharged into central water sources – which is one of the reasons that over 750 million people from all over the globe find themselves lacking fresh water.
Some of the most common pollutants that can be found in wastewater are heavy metals. Their presence damages aquatic environs especially, as they can remain stable for a very long time in the water. Those metals are lethal to humans and animals at high concentrations. It is critical that effective methods be discovered to remove the toxic metals from wastewater.
There are currently several methods for removing heavy metals from wastewater. One of the most favorable ones is solvent extraction adsorption, mainly because of its efficiency, ease of operation, and the fact that it is inexpensive relative to the other methods. However, the method depends on the use of a highly efficient – and ideally reusable – adsorbent. As such is often lacking, the industrial use of this technique is limited.
Researchers from King Saud University have recently fabricated and tested a new kind of adsorbent, based on a magnetic polymeric nanocomposite material. The adsorbent was largely synthesized from starch, hinting that its cost for industrial uses will be practically negligible. Despite its inexpensiveness, the adsorbent was highly effective in removing heavy metals from polluted water. The material could be reused for at least seven cycles, which makes it even more promising for industrial purposes.
This discovery shows once again the promise of nano-technology and the benefits it could bring to mankind if harnessed in the right way. If we just learn how to best control and shape the molecules that are all around us, then pollution – of any kind – will soon be vanquished.
The researchers behind this research are Tansir Ahamad, Mu Naushad, Rashed Hassan Mousa, and Saad M. Alshehri from King Saud University.
Original content by Nawartna