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March 3, 2021

NIEHS-Funded Study Finds Graphene Nanochannel Filters Hold Promise for Contaminant Clean-Up

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

The March 2021 issue of Environmental Factor, a monthly newsletter published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), includes an item entitled “New graphene nanochannel filters hold promise for contaminant clean-up.”  According to the item, an NIEHS-funded study found a new strategy to design nanomaterials to filter contaminants better from water.  To improve the usefulness of graphene oxide nanosheets for filtering contaminants from liquid, the researchers modified how the sheets are assembled, “reduc[ing] the distance water must pass through while optimizing the amount of contact it has with the membrane.”  The item states:  “In proof-of-concept tests, the team demonstrated that water vapor could easily pass through the vertically aligned zirconium-graphene membranes, while the organic molecules hexane and 2-propanol could not.”  The researchers “also showed that their strategy successfully retained molecular selectivity while remaining stable at high temperatures and resistant to swelling, all important factors for scaling up the approach.”