Aluminum hydroxide fibers approximately 2 nanometers in diameter and with surface areas ranging from 200 to 650 m.sup.2/g have been found to be highly electropositive. When dispersed in water they are able to attach to and retain electronegative particles. When combined into a composite filter with other fibers or particles they can filter bacteria and nano size particulates such as viruses and colloidal particles at high flux through the filter. Such filters can be used for purification and sterilization of water, biological, medical and pharmaceutical fluids, and as a collector/concentrator for detection and assay of microbes and viruses. The alumina fibers are also capable of filtering sub-micron inorganic and metallic particles to produce ultra pure water. The fibers are suitable as a substrate for growth of cells. Macromolecules such as proteins may be separated from each other based on their electronegative charges.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENTAL RIGHTS
The subject invention was made with support under a research project supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Cooperative Research and Development (CRADA) Agreement No. 99-USIC-MULTILAB-04 and LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL LABORATORY CRADA No. LA99CI0429. Accordingly, the government has certain rights in this invention.