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Aerogel filter will help to purify any volume of water free of charge and quickly

Shaobo Khan, a postgraduate student at the University of Linköping (Sweden), has designed a new filter for cleaning dirty or simply salt water that does not require energy to operate. It uses the heat from the sun's rays and in passive mode constantly evaporates the liquid, separating it in the process into pure steam and impurities. The principle is old, but in this filter it is implemented with an unusual material - thermal aerogel.



Khan took cellulose as the basis, as a common and extremely cheap material. It was turned into an aerogel and coated with organic polymer PEDOT:PSS on one side. It is known for its extremely effective absorption of solar radiation, especially in the infrared and thermal spectrum. As a result, the coating heats up quickly.

For better buoyancy, the aerogel was placed on a base made of porous material through which water can seep. It rises in the pores and reaches the aerogel, where it heats and evaporates. The process is far from instantaneous, but it is 4-5 times faster than the natural evaporation of water by the Sun. The resulting steam settles on a special plate, then condensate flows down the chute into the collection tank.

Such a filter can work infinitely as long as the Sun shines, which makes it dependent only on the weather. However, the aerogel itself should be periodically cleaned from accumulated impurities. But with regular cleaning its service life is actually not limited, and this technology will help passively clean huge amounts of contaminated water.


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