AUG 19, 2022 8:00 AM PDT

An Environmentally Friendly Filter That Removes Microplastics

WRITTEN BY: Hannah Daniel

Harnessing the power of mechanical energy, researchers at the Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science & Technology and of Korea Institute of Industrial Tech have discovered an eco-friendly way to remove those pesky microplastics from our water.

Microplastics are small plastic pieces smaller than 5mm that have invaded our ecosystems. They come from broken-down plastics and have been found in all areas of the world, including our bodies. Because they aren’t digestible, scientists are worried that they will accumulate in our bodies and have harmful effects that we aren’t even aware of yet.

Two research teams in Korea set out to decrease the microplastics in the environment using filters. However, traditional filters can cause pollution themselves, so Professor Lee Ju-hyuck and Dr. Cho Han-cheol combined their expertise in triboelectric nanogenerators (TENG) and particle removal technology to create a new type of filter. The research was published in Nano Energy on June 11.

The mechanism works using the TENG system. TENG systems create electrical energy from mechanical energy. When two dielectric surfaces touch and then separate, a voltage difference is created between the two electrodes. This allows the filter to operate independently without an external power source and can be transported anywhere.

The TENG filtration system utilizes a porous, pyramid surface to filter the microplastics via electrophoresis. The researchers tested the filter and found that it could remove microplastics and other toxic nanoparticles such as zinc oxides and silicon dioxides. Their filter was even more effective than their previous TENG filtration system, removing five times more microplastics.

The researchers hope their improved filter will help remove microplastics and keep the environment green.

Sources: Nano Energy, DGIST

About the Author
BS Biology
Hannah Daniel (she/they) is a recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Biology with an additional minor in Creative Writing. Currently, she works as a reporter for Informa Intelligence's Health, Beauty, and Wellness publication, a business newsletter detailing the latest innovations and regulations in the OTC drug and supplement worlds.
You May Also Like
AUG 07, 2022
Cell & Molecular Biology
Vitamin K Revealed as Potent Cell Death Suppressor
AUG 07, 2022
Vitamin K Revealed as Potent Cell Death Suppressor
Researchers have known that vitamin K has antioxidant properties, but the mechanism behind that function remained obscur ...
AUG 19, 2022
Earth & The Environment
Time is Running out to Save East Antarctica from Climate Change
AUG 19, 2022
Time is Running out to Save East Antarctica from Climate Change
In a recent study published in Nature, a international team of researchers from the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, a ...
AUG 31, 2022
Earth & The Environment
New Study Examines Climate Change-Tolerating Animals
AUG 31, 2022
New Study Examines Climate Change-Tolerating Animals
In a recent study published in eLife, an international team of researchers discuss how different mammals respond to the ...
SEP 04, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Looking Back in Space: NASA's Project Mercury
SEP 04, 2022
Looking Back in Space: NASA's Project Mercury
This series will explore historic space missions from the start of the Space Age to the present day, including both crew ...
SEP 27, 2022
Technology
Electronic "Brains" Allow Microrobots to Walk Freely
SEP 27, 2022
Electronic "Brains" Allow Microrobots to Walk Freely
In a recent study published in Science Robotics, a team of researchers led by Cornell University have successfully insta ...
SEP 29, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
What are Cannabinoid Acids?
SEP 29, 2022
What are Cannabinoid Acids?
How does your favorite cannabis strain create its concentration of THC or CBD? Here's what cannabinoid acids are, and ho ...
Loading Comments...