Magnets can help sort rubbish by attracting different metals. Heavy metals also find their way into our water supply.
Luckily, an international research team has developed a new method for extracting radioactive uranium from drinking water. Even in small quantities this can be damaging to our health.
The team’s system uses foam from graphene oxide, a two-dimensional nanomaterial with excellent conductivity.
When the foam is poured into water with an electric charge applied, it attracts uranium deposits like a magnet, storing them in crystal form.
The foam can be used up to seven times and purifies water at speed. Work is underway to ensure that other pollutants can be efficiently removed from drinking or even seawater.