Scientists in Australia have come up with a way to use cheap alloy that can dispose of impurities in contaminated water, according to New Atlas. This could impact industries in textile production and mining.
The team’s discovery focuses on a fabrication method that was previously used to develop metallic glasses. The technique was altered to form crystallized Fe-based ribbons that are heated in order to form an atomic structure. This helps the electrons move freely and helps them bond with the pollutants.
“By using a specific treatment, metallic glasses start to become a crystalline structure and there are grains generated inside,” said lead researcher Laichang Zhang. “The grains generated in the crystallized Fe-based ribbons tend to form numerous galvanic cells inside the material due to the potential difference, which facilitates the electron transferring inside grains and across grains.”
“The fast electron transportation is usually what we desire in the wastewater treatment,” Zhang explained, according to New Atlas. “A fast electron transportation from our materials to contaminants leads to an effective conversion of contaminants into harmless substances such as H2O, CO2, etc. That is to say, the faster electron transfers, the higher contaminant removal efficiency is.”
The material can purify water contaminated by dyes, heavy metals and organic pollutants in minutes. The team also said it does not produce any waste in the process, and the same material was reused up to five times during testing. They said an alloy made to clean a ton of wastewater will cost approximately $10.
Filed Under: Materials • advanced