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Conductive Cotton Filters for Affordable and Efficient Water Purification

School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Donghua University, Shanghai 201620, China
Textile Pollution Controlling Engineering Centre of Ministry of Environmental Protection, Shanghai 201620, China
Department of Water Resources and Environment, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Urbanization and Geo-Simulation, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Catalysts 2017, 7(10), 291;
Received: 12 September 2017 / Revised: 26 September 2017 / Accepted: 26 September 2017 / Published: 29 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomaterials for Environmental Purification and Energy Conversion)
PDF [3211 KB, uploaded 29 September 2017]


It is highly desirable to develop affordable, energy-saving, and highly-effective technologies to alleviate the current water crisis. In this work, we reported a low-cost electrochemical filtration device composing of a conductive cotton filter anode and a Ti foil cathode. The device was operated by gravity feed. The conductive cotton filter anodes were fabricated by a facile dying method to incorporate carbon nanotubes (CNTs) as fillers. The CNTs could serve as adsorbents for pollutants adsorption, as electrocatalysts for pollutants electrooxidation, and as conductive additives to render the cotton filters highly conductive. Cellulose-based cotton could serve as low-cost support to ‘host’ these CNTs. Upon application of external potential, the developed filtration device could not only achieve physically adsorption of organic compounds, but also chemically oxide these compounds on site. Three model organic compounds were employed to evaluate the oxidative capability of the device, i.e., ferrocyanide (a model single-electron-transfer electron donor), methyl orange (MO, a common recalcitrant azo-dye found in aqueous environments), and antibiotic tetracycline (TC, a common antibiotic released from the wastewater treatment plants). The devices exhibited a maximum electrooxidation flux of 0.37 mol/h/m2 for 5.0 mmol/L ferrocyanide, of 0.26 mol/h/m2 for 0.06 mmol/L MO, and of 0.9 mol/h/m2 for 0.2 mmol/L TC under given experimental conditions. The effects of several key operational parameters (e.g., total cell potential, CNT amount, and compound concentration) on the device performance were also studied. This study could shed some light on the good design of effective and affordable water purification devices for point-of-use applications. View Full-Text
Keywords: conductive cotton filter; carbon nanotubes; low-cost; water purification; gravity feed conductive cotton filter; carbon nanotubes; low-cost; water purification; gravity feed

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Li, F.; Xia, Q.; Cheng, Q.; Huang, M.; Liu, Y. Conductive Cotton Filters for Affordable and Efficient Water Purification. Catalysts 2017, 7, 291.

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