Get it on Google Play
Get it on Google Play

Editor's Pick

New method for efficient removal of heavy metals from water

WebdeskMar 17, 2021, 11:56 AM IST

New method for efficient removal of heavy metals from water

New Delhi: Heavy metals in water could lead to several neurological diseases in humans including Alzheimer's, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis. A research team at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mandi has developed a fibrous membrane filter using a biopolymer-based material that helps to separate out the heavy metals from water samples. These membranes contain adsorbents – materials that attract and hold the metals. “We tested with a prototype with four litres of heavy metal-laden water in the laboratory and have seen impressive results,” the scientists said. The researchers tested their membrane with copper laden water, to establish proof of principle. “We have provided a novel, industrially scalable method of production of adsorbents that can bind to heavy metals. One specialty of these adsorbents is that they contain a large amount of a biopolymer, Chitosan, derived from crab shells that is mixed with a well-known polymer, Nylon,” explains lead researcher Dr Sumit Sinha Ray, Assistant Professor, School of Engineering, IIT Mandi. Heavy metal pollution of water is a serious concern. “The problems of arsenic pollution in the Ganga basin are well known in India,” says Dr Ray. Major hazardous metals of concern for India in terms of their environmental load and health effects are lead, mercury, chromium, cadmium, copper, and aluminium, that are released into the water through anthropogenic activities such as mining, manufacturing, electroplating, electronics, and fertilizer production, among others, he added. While normally the fibres used to make regular cartridge filter-assemblies are processed by a method called melt blowing, the IIT Mandi researchers have used a process called “solution blowing”. Solution blowing produces fibres that are nanometres in diameter – a hundred thousand times thinner than a single human hair. When the fibres get finer, their surface area increases tremendously, which results in better adsorption of heavy metals. “Apart from producing nanofibres, solution blowing processes can enable blending of natural polymers like chitosan, and lignin with synthetic polymers like Nylon ”, says Dr Ray. The replacement of synthetic polymers with natural polymers is a welcome move in this era of environmental consciousness. Using the solution blowing technique, the IIT Mandi team could replace 40% of the nylon with chitosan, which means 40% less fossil-fuel-derived, polluting plastics. Along with this, the researchers have also observed that while normally absorbent fibres bind to the target metal only at their surface, in their nanofibre membranes, the adsorption was seen to happen at the sub-surface scale as well, which translates to higher metal removal efficiency. As per the researchers’ hypothesis, for copper, for example, almost 302 mg of metal ions could be adsorbed per 1 g of adsorbent. The membranes could be reused at least eight times before there was considerable reduction in the efficiency of metal adsorption. Recovery of the adsorbed metal in a metal-hydroxyl nitrate form was also easy, which is a value-addition to the membrane filter. The paper has been co-authored by Dr. Sinha Ray and his research scholar, Mr. Ashish Kakoria, along with Dr. Suman Sinha Ray, Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago. The results of this study have recently been published in the journal, Polymer. The researchers are all set to scale up the technology to industrial scales so that they could handle larger volumes of metal-contaminated water, says a statement released by IIT Mandi. The study was funded by the Ministry of Mines, Government of India.


Also read: MoS Muraleedharan's visit boosts India's ties with Sudan ..

Lakshmi Sehgal: Fierce Freedom Fighter

Download Organiser Mobile App:
Mobile App:

Visit Us At:

Follow us on:





Background Music Credits:

Also read: RMP to host Conference on Modi's 'Governance model' and effective delivery ..

'Illicit drug activities' & Conscious possession work against, Shah Rukh's son denied bail
Ramakrishna's death Marks an End of Barbaric Left Wing Extremism

India-UK first Maritime Dialogue focuses on Indo Pacific

The virtual deliberations were held as part of the broad agreement drawn in the India-UK Roadmap 2030 for future relations which was adopted at the Virtual Summit between the two Prime Ministers, Narendra Modi and Boris Johnson, in May 2021. New Delhi: In a major push to bilateral ties between India and the United Kingdom, the two foreign ministers held the inaugural Maritime Dialogue in a virtual format on Monday, October 18. The virtual deliberations between External Affairs Mi ...

India-UK first Maritime Dialogue focuses on Indo Pacific