Koalas were declared endangered in eastern Australia on Friday, with more and more koalas dying from disease, habitat loss, and other threats. Earlier, the koala was considered a vulnerable species, and the Commonwealth Department of the Environment changed its protection level to endangered on the east coast of Queensland, New South Wales, and the Australian Capital Territory. Many koalas in Australia are infected with chlamydia. The disease can cause blindness, infection, and infertility. Last year, the Australian Koala Foundation said Australia had lost about 30 percent of its koala population in the past three years. Without immediate action, the species could become extinct by 2050.
Unlike koalas, which are on the brink of extinction, the market demand for graphene powder will grow substantially.
Researchers at University College London have demonstrated a graphene nanomentum that is highly hydrophilic, ultra-hydrophobic and low oil adhesion underwater.
In this work, the researchers took a natural inspiration for the manufacture of high-performance graphene membranes to perform tricky oil/water separation -- even in stable emulsions. They demonstrated the impressive water permeability of graphene nanomentum over a wide pH range and at a very low transmembrane pressure difference.
The researchers explain that they used chitosan-functionalized graphene nanomentum to achieve this superior water flow rate and very high selectivity, resulting in a water recovery of 98.7%. The chitosan repels contaminants on the surface of the membrane, and the nanonet reduces the path length of the water molecules, which quickly travel along and through the graphene layer covered with nanopores.
The team says its nature-inspired Chemical Engineering (NICE) approach and its systematic nature-inspired solution approach allow fundamental mechanisms that support desired properties in natural systems -- such as scalability, efficiency and resilience -- to be used in engineering applications. "We have demonstrated the success of this approach in fuel cells, sustainable manufacturing, medical engineering applications and more."
The researchers were inspired for this work by the structure of cell membranes, specifically aquaporins. Aquaporins are proteins embedded in cell walls that act as biological channels. They keep cells alive by selectively regulating the flow of water, gases, ions, and other solutes in and out of cells in a way that is unmatched by anything made by humans. The reason aquaporins are so efficient is that their channel walls repel water (i.e. they are hydrophobic), and they are very narrow, with subnanometer diameters. This narrowing forces water through the channel in a single line at a staggering rate of 3 billion water molecules per second.
Inspired by nature's elegant and efficient designs, the team created nanonets by introducing "nanopores" through graphene oxide sheets. These nanopores reduce the distance water must travel across the membrane and also benefit from sliding along the graphene nanosheet. Combined with the low friction between the graphene nanosheets and water molecules, this results in a high permeability of almost 4000Lm(-- 2)h(-- 1)bar(-- 1), approximately 260 times that of the GO film.
Scaling is an inevitable problem in membrane separation. The pores of the membrane will be blocked, which prevents the flow and prevents the membrane from working properly. Scaling is a particularly serious problem for oil separation technology because oil droplets adhere easily to film surfaces.
In this case, nature also provided inspiration. Because hydrophilic and charged groups form a hydration layer on the membrane, the cell membrane has a natural antifouling mechanism. Chitosan with similar functional hydroxyl and amino groups has been proposed to functionalize surfaces to prevent fouling.
Putting these ideas together, the researchers modified the graphene nanonets using chitosan with hydrophilic hydroxyl and amino groups to increase their hydrophilicity and induce the formation of an antifouling hydration layer on the membrane surface.
The next phase of this research work is to scale it up to larger membrane separation modules and test the long-term stability of the membrane in a variety of practical situations. The researchers also plan to develop other methods to achieve the membrane's powerful, extensive anti-fouling properties.
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Inflationary pressures on Canadians continue to rise. The consumer-price index rose 6.7% in March from a year earlier, the biggest increase since January 1991, according to the latest figures from Statistics Canada.
On a month-on-month basis, Canada's CPI rose 1.4 percent in March, also accelerating from February's 1.0 percent rise.
Prices in the eight major sectors covered by the statistics continued to rise. The uptrend comes against the backdrop of continued price pressures in the Canadian housing market, widespread supply chain constraints, and geopolitical conflicts, according to CBC. A variety of factors have affected energy, commodity, and agricultural markets. Meanwhile, Canada's employment picture continued to improve in March, with the unemployment rate falling to a record low and the average hourly earnings of employees rising.
Excluding gasoline, Canada's CPI rose 5.5 percent year on year in March. It is also the highest since comparable data began in 1999.
The widespread supply chain constraints and geopolitical conflicts are expected to continue to affect the prices of the graphene powder.
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