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New Desalination Method to Disinfect Water Developed

Creation Date Friday, 21 March 2014.

A research team led by Daosheng Deng at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge recently introduced an innovative desalination technique called “shock electrodialysis.” This cutting edge chemical process removes all traces of sodium chloride in saltwater as well as decontaminates from dirt, bacteria, and other waterborne pollutants.

New Desalination Method to Disinfect Water DevelopedAccording to Deng and his team, “Shock electrodialysis has the potential to enable more compact and efficient water purification systems to benefit the lives of millions of people.”

Lack of access to drinkable water supply is still considered as one of the world’s most urgent issues, especially in depressed countries and rural global areas. The raging dilemma is not the scarcity of water but on the salinity of most water supplies.

Contrary to another technique known as reverse osmosis, electrodialysis functions by allowing salt (chlorine and sodium) ions to penetrate one side of the membrane through an electric field, leaving purified water on the other side. This process lacks the ability to eradicate impurities so there is a need for additional stages including filtration and sterilization to make the water safe for drinking.

Deng’s team studied how to produce potable water through electrodialysis in a single step. They discovered that placing a layer of porous material adjacent to the cathode to function as a filter prevents contaminants from passing through the micropores. These porous materials are made of sintered glass particles to form a porous solid. The pore size is approximately 0.5 micrometres (um) and anything larger cannot pass.

While bacteria tend to be tinier than 0.5 um, Deng says that they cannot penetrate the porous membrane as they either get trapped or destroyed by the powerful electric fields close to the cathode. The process allows the shock electrodialysis device to eradicate approximately 99% of viable E. Coli bacteria present in the feed water and deliver purified water.

Deng and his peers deem every breakthrough that can desalinate, filter and disinfect saltwater, worthy of further research. Similarly, Aqua Solutions is committed to providing its client industries with convenient, economical, and reliable water treatment systems that deliver high-purity reagent grade water fit for critical laboratory applications. Browse through Aqua Solutions' array of industrial-grade water purification equipment at