Environmental performance of graphene-based 3D macrostructures


Three-dimensional macrostructures (3DMs) of graphene and graphene oxide are being developed for fast and efficient removal of contaminants from water and air. The large specific surface area, versatile surface chemistry and exceptional mechanical properties of graphene-based nanosheets enable the formation of robust and high-performance 3DMs such as sponges, membranes, beads and fibres. However, little is known about the relationship between the materials properties of graphene-based 3DMs and their environmental performance. In this Review, we summarize the self-assembly and environmental applications of graphene-based 3DMs in removing contaminants from water and air. We also develop the critical link between the materials properties of 3DMs and their environmental performance, and identify the key parameters that influence their capacities for contaminant removal.

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Fig. 1: Self-assembly of 2D graphene-based nanosheets into 3DMs.
Fig. 2: 3DMs for contaminant removal from water.
Fig. 3: Graphene-based 3DMs with potential applications in desalination.
Fig. 4: 3DMs for air treatment and antimicrobial applications.
Fig. 5: Engineering the pores of 3DMs.
Fig. 6: Correlation between 3DM properties and their environmental performance.


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N.T. is supported by the Canada Research Chair in Biocolloids and Surfaces. N.Y. is supported by a McGill Engineering Doctoral Award and funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). M.E. and X.L. acknowledge support received from the US National Science Foundation (NSF) through the NSF Nanosystems Engineering Research Center for Nanotechnology Enabled Water Treatment (grant EEC-1449500). The authors thank X. Weng for his contribution to data collection.

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Yousefi, N., Lu, X., Elimelech, M. et al. Environmental performance of graphene-based 3D macrostructures. Nature Nanotech 14, 107–119 (2019) doi:10.1038/s41565-018-0325-6

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