(ORDO NEWS) — An international team of researchers has developed nanobots capable of removing heavy metals from polluted water.
Nanorobots cannot yet cure cancer, but they can definitely purify water from heavy metals. This amazing technology could replace multi-stage cleaning processes
Previous studies have shown that heavy metals enter the groundwater through leaks in landfills, mining and industrial landfills. Heavy metals need to be removed from drinking water sources, but current methods are quite complex and involve many procedures. In a new study, scientists have proposed a possible alternative – nanorobots.
Researchers have developed heat-sensitive magnetic nanorobots that can bind to heavy metals under certain circumstances and release them under others.
The nanorobots (each just 200 nanometers wide) were made from a triblock copolymer of polyethylene oxide and polypropylene oxide (PTBC) and iron oxide. The polymer provided the frame and shell of the robot, while the iron compound acted as a magnet to collect heavy metal particles. The copolymer was temperature sensitive.
How do nanorobots work?
When placed in cool water, the nanorobot binds to heavy metals. But if you then place it in warm water, the bonds in the polymer weaken and the metals separate from the material. In practice, this means that a group of nanorobots could be placed in cool, polluted water, where they naturally disperse and bond with any heavy metals.
The nanorobots can then be pulled out using a magnetic field and moved into a vessel of warm water, where the particles would release the absorbed metals. This robot can be used in a new cleaning cycle.
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