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Top Story

Mat 'baits, hooks and destroys' pollutants in water

National Science Foundation-funded researchers have developed a polymer mat that has the ability to fish biologically harmful contaminants from water through a strategy known as "bait, hook and destroy." Tests with wastewater showed that the mat can efficiently remove targeted pollutants, in this case a pair of biologically harmful endocrine disruptors, using a fraction of the energy required by other technology. The technique can also be used to treat drinking water. The mat depends on the ability of a common material, titanium dioxide, to capture pollutants and, upon exposure to light, degrade them through oxidation into harmless byproducts. Titanium dioxide is already used in some wastewater treatment systems, but it is usually turned into a slurry, combined with wastewater and exposed to ultraviolet light to destroy contaminants. The slurry must then be filtered from the water. The mat, made of spun polyvinyl fibers, simplifies the process. The experiments showed dramatic energy reduction compared to wastewater treatment using slurry.

Visit Website | Image credit: Rice University/Nanotechnology-Enabled Water Treatment Center