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Capturing Contaminants, Producing Purity

Water is critical to human life. We know this.

We know our bodies require water to survive. We know the composition of our brains and hearts are 73% water and our lungs, 83%. We know we should drink 2-3 liters of water per day, depending upon our gender. We know, intimately, that water is critical to survival, our survival. [1]

Unfortunately, water is not always pure. Everyday, millions of Americans drink contaminated water. Pollutants such as Lead, Copper, Arsenic, Nitrites, and Radionuclides slip into the sips of more than 42 million individuals a day. Day by day, drop by drop, death-dealing poisons seep into brains, hearts, and lungs. [2]

Enter Latika Menon, Associate Professor of Physics at Northeastern University, and her titania nanotubes. Titania nanotubes are resistant to corrosion, are biologically and chemically inert —  they kill bacteria, attack organic pollutants, and separate water and oils. Titania nanotubes seem tailor made for water purification. But, titania nanotubes are naturally chaotic and disorganized, and, thus, inefficient. Yet, when Professor Menon’s pioneering fabrication method is employed, titania nanotubes become thinner, longer, and aligned; in other words, they become more efficient and effective.

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