The nano-spheres; a solution to water pollution

Lately, scientists have been working upon finding the maximum way outs to control the appalling environmental conditions. One such initiative is the tiny spheres. Bisphenol A, a common pollutant in water can be absorbed and destroyed by these tiny spheres.

Bisphenol A is normally used in the coating of plastic utensils and they are also used in the making of food packaging boxes and cans and bottle caps as well. Since it is not degradable yet largely used it was necessary to find something that can degrade the polymer. It is imperative because its prolonged use can give rise to health issues like blood pressure and also affects the lives of neonates adversely.

titanium dioxide water contaminants
Credit: The Hindu

These tiny spheres are like flowers which resemble a Venus flytrap, developed by the scientists at the Rice University, USA. It is a floral arrangement of the titanium dioxide droplets. These petals provide a huge surface area for the absorption of the Cyclo-dextrin which is a kind of sugar often utilized in drugs and food. The sphere has two ends, one of which is the hydrophobic end while the other is the hydrophilic end. BPA is hydrophobic in nature thus it is trapped inside the hydrophobic portion. The reactive oxygen species attack the trapped BPA molecules and start to degrade them.

Calculations by the scientists indicate that a 200mg addition of spheres for every liter of water will result in a 90% BPA free water in an hour. The scientists prefer the nanoparticles instead. The size of the spheres is about 100 nanometers. Due to their very small size, they are at times very difficult to recover from the water after it has worked. The titanium oxide spheres uses are approximately 3 to 5 microns which is as small as a hair of your head. So, despite their small sizes these particles have the capability to do what all our filters and membranes fail to do otherwise.

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