top of page

Revolutionizing Water Filtration: CMU's Breakthrough Polymer

chemists and revolutionizing water filtration

Central Michigan University (CMU) has embarked on a groundbreaking venture that could transform water filtration technology, particularly for the United States Department of Defense. Led by a dedicated team of chemists and engineers, including Brad Fahlman, Itzel Marquez, and Anja Mueller, CMU is pioneering the development of a polymer-based filtration system capable of removing contaminants from water, rendering it potable. This innovative technology not only holds immense promise for military applications but also offers a solution to persistent water quality challenges worldwide.

Understanding the Technology

At the heart of CMU's water filtration system lies a specialized polymer engineered to effectively eliminate harmful substances from water sources. Through meticulous research and experimentation, contaminants such as ammonia and arsenic are imprinted onto the polymer, creating custom-fit indentations that securely trap the pollutants. This unique approach mimics a key-lock mechanism, ensuring thorough filtration without compromising water flow.

Applications & Challenges

CMU's research encompasses two primary filtration methods: membrane-based and pitcher-style filters. While the membrane offers rapid filtration, challenges related to structural integrity must be addressed. Conversely, the pitcher-style filter, championed by Marquez, presents a user-friendly alternative for broader implementation. Despite the complexities involved in polymer synthesis, graduate student Catriana Nichols emphasizes the importance of patience and precision, drawing parallels between the process and her background in ceramics.

Unveiling the Potential

The implications of CMU's polymer technology extend far beyond military usage. With the ability to target a diverse array of contaminants, including the notorious PFAS, this innovation holds promise for addressing pressing environmental concerns. Nichols, driven by a passion for environmental quality, sees her involvement in this pioneering research as a stepping stone toward a meaningful career dedicated to safeguarding natural resources.

As CMU continues to refine its polymer-based filtration system, the prospect of revolutionizing water purification looms on the horizon. With unwavering dedication and interdisciplinary collaboration, this endeavor not only underscores the university's commitment to scientific advancement but also heralds a new era in global water management. As the journey towards clean and accessible water for all unfolds, CMU stands at the forefront of innovation, shaping a future where clean water is no longer a luxury but a fundamental human right.

By harnessing the power of chemistry and engineering, CMU is poised to make a profound impact on water filtration technology, paving the way for a safer and more sustainable world.


By Morning Sun| Eric Baerren (April 1, 2024). CMU chemists, engineers work on water filtration technique for the military


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page