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Microbots Get the Lead Out--of Wastewater 微型机器人清除废水中的铅

时间: 2017年05月31日 | 作者: admin | 来源: 未知

撰文:克里斯多夫·因塔利亚塔(Christopher Intagliata

翻译:陈旭琦

审校:乔虹

Water laced with heavy metals—like the drinking water in Flint, Michigan—can be stripped of contaminants using chemicals, filters, membranes,even electric current. But now researchers say they've created what could be a cheaper, more effective solution: a fleet of microscopic, self-propelled, aquatic robots. Each one the size of just 10 lined-up bacteria—so tiny that a billion will fit in a syringe.

可以通过化学品、滤器、过滤膜甚至电流来去除水中的重金属污染物质,密歇根弗林特市的饮用水就是一个例子。但是,现在研究人员称他们已经找到一种更便宜、更有效的解决方式:一群微小的、自推进的水中机器人。它们单个的尺寸相当于10个并行排列的细菌,小到一只注射器可以容纳十亿个这种机器人。

 

Each tube-shaped microbot is a sandwich of three materials. A graphene outer layer, which binds to heavy metals. A middle layer of nickel, which gives the bots magnetic polarity, so they can be pulled through wastewater with magnets. And platinum inside—for propulsion. Just add a bit of peroxide to the wastewater, and it'll react with the platinum to form water and oxygen bubbles, which propel the tubes along.  

每个管状的机器人都由三种物质层层叠加而成。外层由石墨烯构成,它能和重金属结合。中间层由镍构成,它使得机器人有具磁极性,因此机器人就可以利用磁性在废水中行动。内层由铂构成,这是为了机器人的推进力而进行的设计。仅仅在废水中增加多一点过氧化物,它就会与铂进行反应产生水和氧气泡沫,从而推动管状机器人。

 

In an hour, a swarm of 200,000 bots scavenged 80 percent of the lead from three millimeters of tainted water. And the researchers estimate that it costs only about five cents a liter to do so. The findings are in the journalNano Letters. [Diana Vilela et al, Graphene-Based Microbots for Toxic Heavy Metal Removal and Recovery from Water]

在一个小时里,20万个机器人可以去除三毫米废水中80%的铅。研究人员估计处理一升的废水大约只会花费五美分。这项陈果发表在《纳米通讯》(Nano Letters)(Graphene-Based Microbots for Toxic Heavy Metal Removal and Recovery from Water)。

 

The researchers envision the bots as a portable solution for small companies—they’d treat their water onsite instead of carting it to a treatment plant. And after the robots do the rounds, the heavy metals can be stripped away. Meaning companies can reuse the heavy metals, and, ultimately, keep them out of our waterways.

 

研究人员预想这种机器人会成为小公司的便捷式解决方案,他们可以在现场处理废水,而不是将废水运送到专业处理工厂。在机器人完成工作后,重金属会从废水中清除。这意味着公司可以重复利用重金属,并且最终使重金属不进入我们的水路。

 

原文链接:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode/microbots-get-the-lead-out-of-wastewater/