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Review of multifunctional carbon nanotubes in water treatment

Steve Barrett

This review surveys scientific advances in carbon nanotube (CNT) based water purification technologies, which remove organic, inorganic and biological water pollutants by innovative methods. This leads to a detailed understanding of the environmental fate, transport, and toxicity of CNTs.

The availability of safe and clean water is decreasing day by day, and is only expected to increase in the coming decades. To address this problem, various water purification technologies have been adopted.

Among the various concepts proposed, carbon nanotube (CNT) based water treatment technologies are one of the most promising because of their large surface area, high aspect ratio, greater chemical reactivity, lower cost and energy, lower chemical mass, and impact on the environment.

Research & development and commercial interest in CNTs are therefore growing worldwide to treat water contaminants, which have huge impacts on entire living systems including terrestrial, aquatic, and aerial flora and fauna.

This review by researchers in Malaysia and Singapore discusses most of the effective CNT-based water purification technologies, such as adsorption, hybrid catalysis, desalination, disinfection, as well as sensing and monitoring of the three major classes of organic, inorganic, and biological water pollutants.

In addition, the promises, facts and challenges of these novel technologies are critically analysed. Special importance has been given to the transformation of environmental CNTs, which could alter their properties, movement, cellular uptake, and potential toxicity of the material in living systems.

This review article aims to serve as a comprehensive reference source for hydrologists, membrane technologists, environmentalists, and industrialists working to eradicate the crisis in pure water in the near future.

Desalination, Volume 354, 1 December 2014, Pages 160–179.

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