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V13 2010 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

The E-Sylum: Volume 13, Number 39, September 26, 2010, Article 27

ALTERNATE USE FOR SILVER COINS: KILLING BACTERIA

From the I-didn't-know-that department comes word of a new water purifying system that uses silver. Apparently in the days before pasteurization people sometimes put silver coins into bottles of milk to purify it. -Editor

Silver Coins Used to Kill Bacteria Researchers at Stanford have developed a new kind of filter, a cheap and fast way to purify water in poor parts of the world and on camping trips.

In her Stanford laboratory, Alia Schoen purifies water using a new method thousands of times faster than anything previous. It uses nanotechnology and silver.

In the days before milk could be pasteurized or refrigerated, people would drop a silver coin into a bottle to preserve it. Silver is lethal to bacteria. Tiny amounts of silver are already woven into antibacterial socks, underwear and band-aids. You could build water filters out of silver, but the metal is so costly, it would kill your bank account before it killed the bacteria.

Now, nanotechnology is changing that.

It turns out that if you run a minute amount of electricity through microscopic silver, it amplifies its antibacterial powers by thousands of times.

"What we thought was a crazy idea at the time, to combine electricity with nanowires to treat water."

The crazy combination of nanosilver and nanocarbon did the trick. It enables them to filter 98 percent of the E. coli in a water sample in one pass using so little electricity, it can run on 9-volt batteries. Professor Cui, of Stanford's Materials Science department says, "We use a tiny amount. So, it is possible to scale this filter up to a very large size. There's no reason we cannot do thousands of gallons quickly."

To read the complete article, see: Stanford researchers purifying water with silver (abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/drive_to_discover&id=7677070)

Wayne Homren, Editor

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