New “Super Sand” Makes for a Better Water Filter

"Super sand" can deal with at least five times the concentration of heavy metals as pure sand, and it could be relatively cheap to produce.

As a filtration device, plain old sand can be magical. Thousands of years back, people realized that running water through filters of tightly packed sand and gravel could rid it of filth and bacteria and make it safer to drink. Across the world, large-scale municipal water filtration systems depend on sand filters; anyone who’s ever been curious enough about the inner workings of a Brita filter to pry those capsules open know that those ubiquitous pitchers work on much the same principle.

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