Grid Computing helps improve water filtration




By making use of the World Computing Grid, a philanthropic initiative of IBM, researchers have been able to unravel how to filter water is with carbon nanotubes. This can inhibit significantly without water.

The Computing for Clean Water team discovered carbon nanotube water that water is much easier to flow through carbon nanotubes over than previously thought. Possibly this leads to the more efficient filtering and desalination of water. The diameter of the carbon nanotubes is selected so that water molecules can get through, but not much larger molecules. The idea is not new, but it was suspected that the water would be slowed down so that the use of such a filter would not be practical.

Simulation and measurement were far apart and so far there was not enough computing power to simulate what happens inside the carbon nanotubes. Through the simulations, the scientists have discovered that in certain cases natural vibrations, or phonons , can provide an increase of 300 percent diffusion of the water through the carbon nanotubes compared to previous simulations. Because phonons occur naturally, there is no external energy source is required for this phenomenon.

The deeper understanding of the phenomenon are not only useful for the development of more efficient water filters, but also provide opportunities within the fields of microfluidics and transport of substances, such as medicines, through the cell walls of living cells.

For the work of the Computing for Clean Water team is used 150,000 volunteers their computing power to offer through World Community Grid. The research paper by the team can be found in Nature Nanotechnology.

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