This is a project I am currently working on for my Chemistry Honours degree.
Using a clay-polymer nanocomposite for water filtration. It is well known that clay is a very abundant material especially in Africa, and it is also very cheap commercially.In comparison to activated carbon, clay is actually 20 times cheaper. Naturally clays are non-toxic and have very good adsorbent properties because of their already existing size in the nanorange, enabling greater surface area of action. Now, combination of this clay and a suitable polymer further increases the thermal, mechanical properties enabling the activity as filtration mediums to heighten.
The clay and polymer are fused together by melt intercalation, (heating them both above the melt temperature of the polymer, in my case i chose polysulfone). After this process, the product is ground to fine powder and that would be the nanocomposite.
A sample of water which is polluted is then leached through the nanocomposite, and the leachate can be tested on the AAS or ICP and it is noticed that the concentrations of the following pollutants: heavy metals, organic pollutants, pathogens and inorganic contaminants would have reduced greatly.
I personally vouch for this method because clay is abundant and cheap, the process of melt intercalation is simple, low-cost and environmentally favorable.