Wood could be the answer to removing heavy metals from wastewater

Posted 25 August 2017

WoodWood soaked in metal could be used to filter toxic dyes from wastewater, according to US researchers. 

Engineers at the University of Maryland have developed a method of soaking a block of linden wood in palladium – a metal which bonds to particles of dye and is used in the catalytic converters of cars to remove pollutants from the exhaust. 

The filter takes advantage of the wood's natural channels – channels which once moved water and nutrients between the leaves and roots – to allow the water to flow past the nanoparticles which bond to, and remove, the toxic dye.

“This could be used in areas where wastewater contains toxic dye particles,” said Amy Gong, a materials science graduate student and co-first author of the research paper.

Now that they have proven that wood can be used to remove impurities, the researchers are exploring other opportunities, said lead researcher Liangbing Hu. 

“We are currently working on using a wood filter to remove heavy metals, such as lead and copper, from water,” said the professor of materials science and member of the University of Maryland’s Energy Research Center.

"We are also interested in scaling up the technology for real industry applications." 

The researchers have not compared the filter to other types of filters

Their research findings are published in the journal ACS Nano and you can see a video of the process here
 
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