Faced with a flagging defense sector, Lockheed Martin's (NYSE:LMT) efforts to diversify itself continue.

In recent months, the company's begun exploring plans to build civilian dirigibles and enter civilian aircraft maintenance. Last week, it announced a move into the LNG industry. Yesterday, the company announced that it's been awarded a patent for a new invention aimed at satisfying "the growing global demand for potable water."

Lockheed says its Perforene material offers a molecular filtration solution capable of filtering out sodium, chlorine, and other ions from sea water and other non-drinkable water. Developed by adding holes of a nanometer or smaller in diameter to a grapheme membrane one atom thick, Chief Technical Officer Dr. Ray O. Johnson calls Perforene a "game-changer for the industry," and says it has the potential to filter salt water "at a fraction of the cost of industry-standard reverse osmosis systems." Lockheed says a Peforene membrane can be tailored to other applications, including capturing minerals

In its press release, the company said the new material is just one example of Lockheed's efforts to find new uses for the advanced materials of its core aircraft and spacecraft markets -- which suggests Lockheed may have other derivative ideas up its sleeve.

In the meantime, the company's seeking partners interested in commercializing this one.