Nano Bugle

A window into applied science supported by INL

Buckyballs for water treatment systems

Images obtained from Duke University web site

Images obtained from Duke University web site

Microscopic coal particles of the fullerene family called buckyballs could help to maintain cleaner water pipes.

In the course of time, water membranes and pipelines accumulate bacteria and other microorganisms for water treatment. As bacteria are joining these surfaces attract other organic matter, creating a biological film that grows over time. The results obtained in the laboratory by a team from Duke University show that buckyballs might be able to prevent this coating, known as biofouling. The only alternative to this system is expensive, involves digging up the pipes, and replaces the membranes. Biofouling is one of the problems of higher costs associated with water treatment systems based on membranes.

A group of engineers from Duke University says that buckyballs hamper the action of bacteria and other microorganisms accumulated in membranes that treatment plants use to filter water. Due to this property, these nanoparticles could solve one of the most expensive problems in water treatment.

These membranes have small quickly coating pores that would be covered quickly. If the half-life time of membranes increases it would cause a significant reduction in the cost of these systems.

The membranes treated with buckyballs present a lower bacterial layer than untreated ones.


March 9, 2009 - Posted by | Nano News

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