The Potential Application of Porous Graphene for Water Filtration

According to the World Economics Forum’s Global Risks Report, lack of access to safe and clean drinking water will be the biggest challenge to the human race in the coming decade. In order to increase access to fresh water, providing innovative and efficient ways to filter water is essential. The benefit of using graphene is that it is only one single atom thick while the pore sizes among atoms are extremely small which lowers the pressure required for filtration. Nanometer pores are created on the graphene using industrial scale etching process. The pores on the graphene allow good flow of water while restricting the free flow of salt across the membrane; in fact, the salt rejection rate of nanoporous graphene is nearly 100%.
We will investigate the behavior of nanoporous graphene, especially its effectiveness, and feasibility in filtration applications. Graphene’s basic properties include low molar mass, high strength, high electrical conductivity, and its unique single-layer geometry. The major technical issues and challenges to be discussed include: the adequate size of pores allowing for water molecules to flow while blocking Na+ and Cl- ions, and the minimum applied pressure to create ultrafiltration. We will understand the process of creating pores on the graphene. We will further show how to optimize the graphene so that we can have high water flow while still providing a good filter against salt.

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