Over the years we’ve seen plenty of advances in water purification and its impact on the environment and sustainability. Let’s take a look at three of the more unique innovations in water purification.
In 1804, a Scotsman by the name of John Gibb built a device that would strain water through grains of sand. His idea was that the sand would allow the water to pass through but was dense enough to collect particles that would otherwise contaminate the water. Fast forward to the 21st century and scientists are developing ways to coat this “sand” with graphite oxide which creates Super Sand. This specially formulated sand is capable of straining more complex and toxic particles such as mercury. At this point, scientists are working toward making Super Sand capable of absorbing even more contaminants in order to make this a viable filtration system in developing countries.
Imagine being able to tap into the ocean to source drinking water. That’s the goal of a team of scientists from the University of Manchester. The process used to filter out the salt content from the water is considered a “significant step forward” in the development of desalination technology. Additionally, technology is being developed to use ultrasound waves to, essentially, explode contaminated particles that will then evaporate.
Sun & Salt
Ok, so maybe this isn’t a “traditional” technological advance in water purification. Nonetheless it is an interesting and simple one that has far-reaching benefits. Joshua Pearce, an associate professor of science and engineering at Michigan Technological University, developed a process called flocculation where a small amount of table salt is added to water to draw out the clay. Wait…clay? Yes, the main problem with water that is collected in developing countries is that it isn’t clear—and the only way the sun can help to purify water is if the water is clear. By adding the salt to the water and drawing out the clay, clear water is produced.
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