Wednesday, Jul 18 2018 | Updated at 08:35 AM EDT

Stay Connected With Us F T R

Apr 25, 2017 02:03 PM EDT

Engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have discovered that graphene is able to hold up under high pressure. This strong, ultrathin material may be the solution in making desalination more productive.

A single sheet of graphene is comprised of an atom-thin lattice of carbon which may seem fragile but can withstand applied pressures of at least 100 bars. This is equivalent to about 20 times the pressure produced by a kitchen faucet.

In a post on its official website, MIT reported that the reason why graphene can withstand intense pressures is to pair it with a thin underlying support substrate that has tiny holes or pores. The smaller these pores are, the more resilient the material is under high pressure.

Rohit Karnik, an associate professor in MIT's Department of Mechanical Engineering, said that the study will serve as a guideline for developing tough, graphene-based membranes. This can be used specifically for desalination, where filtration membranes should withstand high-pressure flows to efficiently remove salt from seawater.

Watch video

It was noted that current existing membranes desalinate water through reverse osmosis. This is when pressure is applied to one side of a membrane containing saltwater and pushes pure water across the membrane while salt as well as other molecules are hindered from filtering through.

Several commercial membranes desalinate water under pressures of about 50 to 80 bars. Anything above that and they tend to get compacted or otherwise suffer in performance.

Using graphene which can withstand pressure of 100 bars or more could lead to more effective desalination of seawater by recovering more fresh water. It is expected to solve the fresh water crisis by having the ability to purify extremely salty water.

The MIT engineers set up experiments to investigate graphene's pressure tolerance. They grew sheets of graphene through a technique named chemical vapor deposition and placed single layers of the material on thin sheets of porous polycarbonate. They discovered that graphene was able to withstand pressures of 100 bars when placed over pores that were 200 nanometers wide or smaller.

See Now: Facebook will use AI to detect users with suicidal thoughts and prevent suicide

Follows Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, engineer, science, Graphene, Desalination, Fresh Water, crisis
© 2017 University Herald, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Must Read

Controlling Robots With Brainwaves And Hand Gestures

Jun 23, 2018 AM EDTWhat if you can control robots with a simple flick of a finger? A team of experts is trying to make that a reality through this latest experiment.

Flavored Electronic Cigarettes Linked To Possible Cardiovascular Disease

Jun 16, 2018 AM EDTScientists from the Boston University School of Medicine looked into the effects of flavored e-cigarettes to the lining of blood vessels. Here are ...

LendingTree Study: Which Places Have the Most Student Debt?

May 31, 2018 AM EDTLendingTree outs its study that identifies places in the United States with the most student debt. Here's the complete list.

Best College Reviews Names 10 Best Master's in Biomedical Engineering Programs Online

May 31, 2018 AM EDTPlanning to pursue a master's degree in Biomedical Engineering? Here are some of the best online programs you need to consider.