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Aussie ‘Metallic Glass’ may Offer Solution to India’s Wastewater Problems

Scientists from the Edith Cowan University in Perth, Australia have developed a way to modify the atomic structure of iron to create a ‘metallic glass’ that can purify wastewater in minutes.


‘Metallic glass’ gets its name because its atomic structure resembles glass. It is cheap to produce and can be reused up to 20 times say, researchers. A thin strip of metallic glass can remove impurities like dyes and heavy metals from even highly polluted water in minutes leaving behind useable water.

Associate Professor Laichang Zhang from ECU’s School of Engineering said, “The technology could have significant applications in the textile and mining industries. Mining and textile production produces massive amounts of water that is contaminated with heavy metals and dyes respectively.”

In India, there is a huge gap between wastewater generation and treatment. According to reports industries in India generate about 13,468 MLD of wastewater out which only 60% is treated. Conventional wastewater treatment methods are expensive and complex and leaves behind substantial amounts of sludge.

In contrast, the iron-based metallic glass can be reused up to 20 times, produces no waste sludge and can be produced as cheaply a few dollars per kilogram, says Professor Zhang.

‘Metallic glass’ as a catalyst for ultrafast water purification is very achievable in the industrial application and is already receiving significant interest from companies who are keen to develop this technology.

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