An Overview of Nanomaterials for Water Technology

An Overview of Nanomaterials for Water Technology

Tawfik A. Saleh (Department of Chemistry, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Saudi Arabia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2136-5.ch001


There has been a growing interest in the investigation of the possibility of nanomaterials utilization as efficient materials for water purification. The efficiency of the techniques used for water treatment depends mostly on the efficiency of the material involved in the process. The objective of this chapter is to introduce an overview of the nanomaterials classification and general schemes of their synthesis. In addition, the chapter highlights the techniques used for the characterization of the nanomaterials and nanocomposites. In addition, technologies used for water purification where the nanomaterials play a role are discussed.
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2. Water Technologies

There are several water treatment technologies used for

  • 1.

    Pollutant source reduction,

  • 2.

    Wastewater treatment and

  • 3.

    Water recycling.

The water technologies include primary, secondary, and tertiary unit operations. Primary treatment deals with physical and chemical purification processes while the secondary treatment deals with the biological treatment. Tertiary treatment converts wastewater into a good quality water. Figure 1 illustrates the wastewater treatment units. These techniques involve the utilization of efficient materials. Among these, as examples are separation, filtration, extraction, oxidation, photodegradation, ion exchange, reverse osmosis, and adsorption.

Figure 1.

Classification of Water recycling technologies

Figure 2.

A general scheme of the most available water treatment methods

2.1. Selection of Water Treatment Technologies

The type of the required wastewater treatment determines the selection of the treatment technologies. The water treatment methods can be summarized as shown in Figure 2.

The highly polluted water having color, solid wastes are first treated with primary and secondary processes followed by the tertiary water treatment technologies. If the biological oxygen demand is negligible then the secondary process is not required. If water is colorless without any solid and polluted due to inorganic, organic and biological pollutants, then only tertiary water treatment is required. In general, groundwater is polluted by toxic metal ions and anions and only tertiary water technologies are required for its treatment. Surface water is being contaminated due to inorganic, organic and biological pollutants require secondary and tertiary treatment methods. Wastewater is highly polluted and it may be colored with solid wastes containing inorganic, organic, biological pollutants, which requires a good hyphenation of primary, secondary and tertiary treatment technologies. The choice of the tertiary water treatment technologies depends on the types of the pollutants present in water and the optimum selection can be done by considering the required quality of water, type of pollutants and their sources.

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