Making any water supply safe: Graphene drinking straws

Sometimes there are emergencies such as natural disasters. These are often followed by the need for refugee camps, and getting access to clean water can sometimes become a problem. Disease often becomes widespread thanks to polluted supplies. Graphene can come to the rescue, again.

Graphene has many remarkable properties, but one is that water passes through a graphene coating onto an absorbent surface as if it wasn’t there. Given the large number of people in the world without access to clean water, wouldn’t it be nice if we could make this:

Graphene drinking straw

The absorbent material provides a smooth surface onto which to apply the graphene coating. The graphene coating filters out everything except the clean drinking water. The sponge then provides a reservoir from which to suck safe drinking water. When we get to the point that graphene can be produced cheaply and easily, this could save many lives in developing countries, in disaster zones, and even be useful to save carried weight for hikers, sailors and the military.

2 responses to “Making any water supply safe: Graphene drinking straws

  1. is there any prototype yet? or is anyone developing this?

    • I don’t know for sure, but I doubt it, graphene is still hard and expensive to make in significant quantities, but it should become feasible once someone figures out how to make it cheaply. I have no resources to develop it myself and published the idea in case some other group might later develop it. Then hopefully we’ll see fewer people dying in disaster aftermaths.

      Your question did remind me of a talk I gave a year ago, where I was astonished to learn that not everyone welcomes being able to help people who are suffering, and some would much prefer to keep them that way so they can be used as political pawns. Several greens present at that one were very hostile to the idea. As Jeremy Green (a wannabe green politician) said in a quite deliberate misrepresentation “The apparent crisis of water shortages could be solved by graphene straws, that could enable fresh clean water to be extracted from muddy puddles. This fatuous rubbish should have been indication enough that we were in the presence of someone who was prepared to announce ‘solutions’ to problems that he hadn’t spent even a moment studying.” Apparently inventing a solution to a serious problem is easy even without spending a moment studying it, and the invention is fatuous rubbish because it doesn’t solve a different problem altogether, and the problem it does address must therefore presumably remain unaddressed. Maybe Jeremy Green doesn’t support sending bandages to emergencies either because they don’t make very good clothing. If he misunderstood (and I don’t think he did), then his malicious comments were made without spending a moment studying what I very clearly actually said. Sadly, Green didn’t say what solution he had invented in his far deeper presumed analysis. But perhaps I shouldn’t be too hard on him; I guess I’d feel pissed of with life if I were in his shoes too. He so wants to be a politician but like most other Greens, the quality of his analysis and the level of support for his inverted value set shows in the magnitude of his political accomplishment, he managed once to scrape 4.77% of the votes in a ward in a local council election. Then again, the agreement with him by several other greens in that discussion indicates why many of us consider the Greens as a group to be the real enemies of humanity and the environment.

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