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Water Purification using Graphene Seminar Report

One of the most socially relevant aspects of nanotechnology is in the field of environmental remediation. Diverse applications of nanomaterials in decontamination of air, water and soil are intensely pursued in the recent past. The availability of large surface area and unusual electronic structure imparts new properties to nanomaterials. One of the early applications of such materials is the halocarbon decomposition and the use of this technology in water purification.

Carbon has been the most versatile material used for water purification in history. Very early account of the use of charcoal in water purification is found in the Vedic literature. One of the fascinating new additions into the carbon family is graphene, the one-atom thick sheets of carbon. Carbon materials, such as activated carbon, charcoal, carbon nanotubes, have been used extensively in water purification and, hence, are indispensable components of all commercial water technologies. High thermal and electrical conductivity, electronic properties, quantum hall effect, and application in drug delivery and DNA sensing, have been investigated in the recent past. In this report we show that chemically synthesized graphene, as well as graphene oxide, can be anchored onto the surfaces of river sand to make effective adsorbents that remove heavy metal ions, pesticides, and natural dyes. Such materials show higher adsorption capacity in comparison to activated carbon when equal masses of carbon are compared. When used as a stationary adsorbent material in a flowing water stream, it is necessary to anchor the nanoscale adsorbent onto inexpensive and reliable substrates.

Utilization of such technologies in people-oriented applications requires the materials to be affordable. In this regard, biologically derived carbon is perhaps the most affordable and chemically most versatile. Materials derived from plant sources may even be more eco-friendly than those from fossil source such as petroleum. Among the simplest of natural sources of carbon are sugars, which upon dehydrogenation get converted completely into elemental carbon, leaving only water to escape.

Graphene comes from graphite, the ―lead‖ in a pencil: a kind of pure carbon formed from flat, stacked layers of atoms. The tiered structure of graphite was discerned centuries ago, and so it was natural for physicists and materials scientists to try splitting the mineral into its constituent sheets—if only to study a substance whose geometry might turn out to be so elegantly simple. Graphene is the name given to one such sheet. It is made up entirely of carbon atoms bound together in a network of repeating hexagons within a single plane just one atom thick.

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