This Rose for 2 Cents Can Purify Water

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We have all admired roses for its beauty, but little did we imagine about the intricacies of its design. Scientists have developed a design to purify water that resembles a rose. What’s more interesting to know is that this flower-like purifier will only cost 2 cents per piece. The current solar steaming techniques are expensive. And thus this method can change the dynamics of water purification in the future.

Donglei Fan, an associate professor from the Cockrell’s School of Engineering has found a new way of solar steaming for water production. It is technique where solar light is used to steam water and remove impurities and salt from the water.

How Rose’s Design Can Purify Water?

Fan and her team were looking at designs to induce solar steaming. After several attempts, an idea struck Fan. She recalled a book she had read as a child, Alexandre Dumas’ “The Black Tulip”. Though not exactly like a rose, but Fan felt that the design of a flower could help them find the best solution for solar steaming.

This new technique involves the use of low-cost materials called polypyrrole. They are known for their photothermal properties that is they are good at converting solar light into heat. So, when water falls on this, this material converts it into steam, removing particles like heavy metals and tiny microbes. It also eliminates salt from sea water.

The end product is drinkable and meets the World Health Organization (WHO) standards. “We designed the purification-collection unisystem to include a connection point for a low-pressure pump to help condense the water more effectively,” said Weigu Li, the lead author of the paper.  The researchers believe that their design can inspire new methods of solar steaming and help develop efficient and cost-effective ways of water purification.

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Edward Turner

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