Graphene can be used to remove radioactive uranium from water

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Graphene has so many applications that here at WWWhatsnew we already dedicate a category just for it.

We have already seen it improve the sound of headphones or offer its properties in sensors, but the one I comment today is really impressive, cleaning the water of radioactive material.

Researchers at MIT have succeeded in creating a reusable filter with graphene oxide foam that acts as a magnet for uranium, helping to remove it from drinking water.

That’s right, uranium can leach into water supplies from natural deposits in rocks, and that makes it an invisible killer, even though it takes very high doses to start causing harm to human health.

Now that it has been discovered that graphene oxide foam can filter uranium in a matter of hours, cleaning itself to be reused several times like a sponge, it is time to start moving the strings to launch it on the market.

On its operation, they indicate:

[…] it is necessary to send an electrical charge through the foam. This splits the water around it and releases hydrogen, which increases the pH in the area. This generates a chemical change that attracts the uranium ions to the surface of the foam, crystallizing into a previously unknown form of uranium hydroxide.

To eliminate the uranium, you just have to invert the electrical charge, thus sliding the captured.

The foam can capture four times its own weight of uranium, and has an extraction capacity of 4,000 mg per gram, making it possible to go through seven cycles without losing its extraction efficiency.

The team says the method is inexpensive, so hopefully it will help improve the quality of the water that reaches our homes shortly.