Owing to their atomically thin structure, large surface area and mechanical strength, 2D nanoporous materials are considered to be suitable alternatives for existing desalination and water purification membrane materials. Recent progress in the development of nanoporous graphene based materials has generated enormous potential for water purification technologies. Progress in the development of nanoporous graphene and graphene oxide (GO) membranes, the mechanism of graphene molecular sieve action, structural design, hydrophilic nature, mechanical strength and antifouling properties and the principal challenges associated with nanopore generation are discussed in detail. Subsequently, the recent applications and performance of newly developed 2D materials such as 2D boron nitride (BN) nanosheets, graphyne, molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), tungsten chalcogenides (WS2) and titanium carbide (Ti3C2Tx) are highlighted. In addition, the challenges affecting 2D nanostructures for water purification are highlighted and their applications in the water purification industry are discussed. Though only a few 2D materials have been explored so far for water treatment applications, this emerging field of research is set to attract a great deal of attention in the near future.
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