According to a new report in the American Chemical Society journal, Applied Materials & Interfaces, a new form of sand has been developed that has five times the filtering capacity of regular sand.
The development of the ‘super sand’ followed the examination of a nanomaterial called graphite oxide. Researchers used a simple method to coat sand grains with graphite oxide, creating a sand that successfully removed mercury and a dye molecule from water. In the mercury test, ordinary sand was saturated within 10 minutes of filtration, while the super sand absorbed the heavy metal for more than 50 minutes. Its filtration performance is said to be comparable to some commercially available activated carbon.
Mainak Majumder and colleagues from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia suggested in the journal that it could be used to improve sand filtration in a cost-effective way.
"We are currently investigating strategies that will enable us to assemble functionalised GO particles on the sand grains to further enhance contaminant removal efficiencies," they wrote.