Studying how Graphene Oxide Moves in Water
When developing or using a technology, it is important to consider all of the interactions it will have with you, whatever it is being applied to, and its environment. By performing studies into this area, it is possible to prevent any issues, or at least mitigate them. Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have recently looked into the behavior of graphene oxide nanoparticles in water.
Graphene is an atom-thick sheet of carbon with extraordinary properties that many want to put to use in our devices. Graphene oxide is related and has its own set of interesting applications, and now researchers are starting to look at how it may impact its environment. The Riverside researchers found that if graphene oxide nanoparticles were to enter groundwater, which is typically harder and has a low concentration organic matter, it will settle out or be otherwise removed. Surface water however, which is less hard but contains more organic materials, kept the nanoparticles around for longer, allowing them to move farther.
As some recent research suggestions graphene oxide nanoparticles may be toxic to people, the importance of this study is obvious. Despite that, this is one of the first studies into the ability of these nanoparticles to move through water, but it will almost certainly not be the last.