Founded in 1995, Lockheed Martin is an American Company that specializes in global aerospace, security, defense, and advanced technologies and other worldwide interests. One of those interests is the finding of an affordable solution to address the global demand for potable water or more commonly known as improved drinking water. The company has recently developed and engineered a filtration system that may revolutionize the water filtration industry. In fact the United States and Trademark Office recently issued a patent for the Perforene membrane’s application to water filtration.
Water covers more than 70% percent of the Earth, yet only 3% is considered clean enough to drink. The global demand for clean water grows each day, and the sea is one alternative to providing a possible solution. In order to drink sea water, a process known as desalination must be completed to remove particles including salts and minerals. Reverse osmosis systems are one option but the process is expensive and requires large amounts of energy to be completed.
Perforene is a thin membrane that is perforated with holes as small as one nanometer in diameter or less in a graphene sheet. When Perforene membrane is used within a filter of a larger sized unit, it can trap salt, chlorine and other ions dramatically improving the flow of water molecules and reducing clogging and pressure upon the membrane.
Graphene is a thin material that is made of pure carbon and similar in nature to graphite. Only one atom thick, it allows water to flow through 100 times better than other reverse osmosis systems that are currently available, making the process not only more effective at desalination but also at a fraction of the cost.
Perforene is not just for seawater desalination, it can also be used in several other applications including:
• Waste water treatment
• Food & beverage
Reverse Osmosis works on a very basic principle: molecules contained within a liquid will flow across a membrane that is semipermeable allowing both areas of higher concentration to lower concentrations until both sides reach an equilibrium. The membrane acts as a filter for large molecules and ions once the outside pressure is applied to one side of the system. Perforene is made from a single atom-thick sheet of graphene. The sheet is very thin allowing water to flow through much more easily than other conventional filters.
The experts at Lockheed Martin are also investigating other applications for the Perforene material, including the process of separating proteins for biopharmaceutical use and removing chemical substances and compounds from water that is used as a primary source in oil and gas wells.