A joint study by scientists from Germany and Spain has shown the possibility of using thousands of microbots, the size of a human hair, to purify industrial wastewater from toxic metals. The scientific work was published in the journal of the American Chemical Society.
Heavy metals: lead, arsenic, mercury, cadmium and chromium enter the water as waste when creating batteries and various electronic devices, posing a serious threat to all living things. To remove them, special microbots were created in the form of cylinders with three functional layers.
The first graphene layer adsorbs lead. The nickel middle layer acts as a control system for the robot, making it ferromagnetic. By creating an external electromagnetic field, you can change the trajectory of its movement. The inner platinum layer provides physical activity in the environment to be cleaned.
As soon as hydrogen peroxide is added to the water, platinum begins to split it into water and oxygen in the form of micro bubbles. There is an ejection effect - the microbubbles ejected backward push the microbots forward. Once the adsorption of lead is complete, the magnetic field can be used to collect microbots from the water.
In the future, when their mass production becomes possible, an automated control system will also be created, which will make it possible to perform more large-scale tasks.