低成本的太阳能水过滤器去除铅,其他污染物

在普林斯顿大学进行的一项研究中,研究人员将凝胶放在湖水中,在湖水中吸收纯净水,留下污染物。然后,研究人员将凝胶放在阳光下,其中太阳能加热凝胶,导致纯净水排出到容器中。
图片信贷:普林斯顿大学Xiaohui Xu

Pufferfish-inspired device relies on sunlight to produce clean drinking water.

A new invention that uses sunlight to drive water purification could help solve the problem of providing clean water off the grid.

The device resembles a large sponge that soaks up water but leaves contaminants – like lead, oil and pathogens – behind. To collect the purified water from the sponge, one simply places it in sunlight. The researchers described the device in a paper published this week in the journal先进的材料.

The inspiration for the device came from the pufferfish, a species that takes in water to swell its body when threatened, and then releases water when danger passes, said the device’s co-inventor罗德尼普里斯特利,Pomeroy和Betty Perry Smith化学和生物工程教授,普林斯顿的创新副院长。

“对我来说,关于这项工作的最令人兴奋的事情是它可以完全偏离电网,在大而小的尺度上,”普里斯特利说。“它也可以在需要低成本,不动力净水净化的地点的发达国家中工​​作。”

普林斯顿总统博士生博士研究员在化学和生物工程和共同发明人系,帮助在设备核心开发凝胶材料。

“Sunlight is free,” Xu said, “and the materials to make this device are low-cost and non-toxic, so this is a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to generate pure water.”

The authors noted that the technology delivers the highest passive solar water- purification rate of any competing technology.

One way to use the gel would be to place it in a water source in the evening and the next day place it in the sunlight to generate the day’s drinking water, Xu said.

凝胶可以净化与石油和其他油状物污染的水,重金属如铅,小分子和病原体如酵母。该团队表明,凝胶保持其过滤水的能力,以浸泡和放电至少10个循环,没有可检测的性能降低。结果表明凝胶可以反复使用。

To demonstrate the device in real-world conditions, Xu took the device to Lake Carnegie on the Princeton University campus.

Xu placed the gel into the cool water (25 degree Celsius, or 77 degrees Fahrenheit) of the lake, which contains microorganisms that make it unsafe to drink, and let it soak up the lake water for an hour.

At the end of the hour, Xu lifted the gel out of the water and set it on top of a container. As the sun warmed the gel, pure water trickled into the container over the next hour.

The device filters water much more quickly than existing methods of passive solar-powered water purification methods, the researchers said. Most other solar-powered approaches use sunlight to evaporate water, which takes much longer than absorption and release by the new gel.

其他水过滤方法需要电力或其他电源来通过膜泵送水。通过重力的无源过滤,与典型的家用台面过滤器一样,需要定期更换过滤器。

在新设备的核心,是一种根据温度变化的凝胶。在室温下,凝胶可以充当海绵,浸泡水。当加热至33摄氏度(91华氏度)时,凝胶对面 - 它将水从其毛孔推出。

The gel consists of a honeycomb-like structure that is highly porous. Closer inspection reveals that the honeycomb consists of long chains of repeating molecules, known as poly(N-isopropylacrylamide), that are cross-linked to form a mesh. Within the mesh, some regions contain molecules that like to have water nearby, or are hydrophilic, while other regions are hydrophobic or water-repelling.

At room temperature, the chains are long and flexible, and water can easily flow via capillary action into the material to reach the water-loving regions. But when the sun warms the material, the hydrophobic chains clump together and force the water out of the gel.

This gel sits inside two other layers that stop contaminants from reaching the inner gel. The middle layer is a dark-colored material called polydopamine that transforms sunlight into heat and also keeps out heavy metals and organic molecules. With PDA in place, the sun’s light can heat up the inner material even if the actual outdoor temperature is not very warm.

The final external layer is a filtering layer of alginate, which blocks pathogens and other materials from entering the gel.

徐说,制造该装置的一个挑战是配制内凝胶,以具有对吸水性的正确性质。最初凝胶很脆,所以她改变了组合物,直至灵活。徐综合了这些材料,并进行了研究,评估了该设备净化水的能力,由普林斯顿科学技术研究所的普林斯顿科技学院博士研究员和纳米·研究员援助。

Sujit Datta,化学和生物工程助理教授,以及Craig Arnold,苏珊国防部机械和航天工程教授和普林斯顿科技科技研究所主任,合作了该技术的发展。

该团队正在探索普林斯顿创新的技术广泛提供技术,该技术支持大学研究人员在将社会的益处翻译成技术和服务中。

###

The study was supported by the Princeton University Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, the National Science Foundation Materials Research Science and Engineering Center Program through the Princeton Center for Complex Materials (DMR-1420541 and 2011750), the Princeton Catalysis Initiative, and the Princeton University Eric and Wendy Schmidt Transformative Technology Fund.

The study, A bioinspired elastic hydrogel for solar-driven clean water purification, by Xiaohui Xu, Sehmus Ozden, Navid Bizmark, Craig B. Arnold, Sujit S. Datta and Rodney D. Priestley, was published in the journal先进的材料。DOI adma.202007833R2

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Catherine Zandonella
普林斯顿大学

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