0

Water Filter Made with Cigarette Soot

NewImage

Cigarette ash combined with aluminum oxide can help remove arsenic from water. via psmag

In further evidence that one person’s trash is another’s treasure—and perhaps life saver—researchers in China and Saudi Arabia have devised a way to use cigarette ash to filter arsenic from water. The technique could prove to be a cost-effective way to deal with contaminated drinking water, especially in the developing world.

Odorless and tasteless, arsenic is more than just the stuff of Agatha Christie novels. It’s also a serious public health threat in some parts of the world, notably Bangladesh, where naturally occurring arsenic compounds are abundant in the soil. Even in wealthy countries such as the United States, a mix of natural and industrial sources poses a threat to public health if it goes undetected and unmanaged. Regardless of the source, long-term exposure through drinking water and from crops irrigated with contaminated water can lead to skin lesions and cancer. Fortunately, richer nations have a number of options for dealing with arsenic, including absorption treatments and methods based on chemical oxidation.

But in the developing world, finding the money for a state-of-the-art treatment facility isn’t an easy job. Apart from collecting rain water and boiling it, the simplest and most cost-effective way to treat arsenic-laced water is absorption. A standard water filter just passes water through a material that attracts arsenic compounds but lets water molecules flow by.

Here’s where cigarette ash comes in. Tobacco is grown throughout the world, and millions of cigarettes are made and smoked every day—a public-health concern in its own right. But it’s also a good source of water-filtering carbon.

“When people smoke, incomplete combustion emerges as air is sucked through the tobacco within a short time. Thus, a certain amount of activated carbon”—that’s the porous, absorbent stuff in your water filter—“is formed and incorporated into the cigarette soot,” write He Chen and colleagues in Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research. The team combined that with another material for arsenic removal, aluminum oxide, to create a low-cost, relatively easy-to-make filter.

Neither ash nor aluminum oxide is ideal as a filtering material—ash has to be heat treated to be an efficient water filter, while aluminum oxide tends to clump up or form gels when exposed to water. To get around that, the researchers treated cigarette soot with hydrochloric and nitric acid before mixing the resulting powder with aluminum nitrate, finally producing an aluminum oxide-carbon mix. Finally, the team tested their concoction on a groundwater sample from Mongolia. With about two grams of aluminum oxide to one gram of cigarette-soot carbon, the team removed about 96 percent of the arsenic in the sample, as well as 98 percent of fluoride ions. They also found that they could use the same mix six times without losing filtering capacity. Finally, something good about smoking cigarettes.

Read more


Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Join 13,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community! http://adafru.it/discord

CircuitPython 2019!

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell with Google Hangouts On-Air is every Wednesday at 7:30pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Follow Adafruit on Instagram for top secret new products, behinds the scenes and more https://www.instagram.com/adafruit/


Maker Business — A list of companies owned by Amazon. It’s big.

Wearables — Raid the kitchen

Electronics — Capacitor ESR

Biohacking — Vitamin-C + Gelatin for Accelerated Recovery

Python for Microcontrollers — Python snakes its way to the STM32, Serpente, and more!

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Adafruit IO Updates, RGB Stream Deck Message Panel, and more

Microsoft MakeCode — Welcome to the MakeCode Newsletter!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !



No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.