Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Making Sure the Wonder Materials Donít Become the Wonder Pollutant

Abstract:
As useful as nanotubes may be, the process of making them may have unintentional and potentially harmful impacts on the environment.

Making Sure the Wonder Materials Donít Become the Wonder Pollutant

Woods Hole, MA | Posted on April 8th, 2008

Carbon nanotubes are 10,000 times thinner than a human hair, yet stronger than steel and more durable than diamonds. They conduct heat and electricity with efficiency that rivals copper wires and silicon chips, with possible uses in everything from concrete and clothes to bicycle parts and electronics. The have been hailed as the next "wonder material" for what could become a multi-billion dollar manufacturing industry in the 21st century.

But as useful as nanotubes may be, the process of making them may have unintentional and potentially harmful impacts on the environment. MIT/WHOI graduate student Desirťe Plata and her mentorsóchemists Phil Gschwend of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Chris Reddy of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institutionórecently analyzed ten commercially made carbon nanotubes to identify the chemical byproducts of the manufacturing process and to help track them in the environment.

Plata found that the ten different carbon nanotubes had vastly different compositions; most previous toxicity studies have generally assumed that all nanotubes are the same. This diversity of chemical signatures will make it harder to trace the impacts of carbon nanotubes in the environment

In previous work (first presented last fall), Plata and colleagues found that the process of nanotube manufacturing produced emissions of at least 15 aromatic hydrocarbons, including four different kinds of toxic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) similar to those found in cigarette smoke and automobile tailpipe emissions. They also found that the process was largely inefficient: much of the raw carbon went unconsumed and was vented into the atmosphere.

The new research by Plata et al was published April 3 on the web site of the journal Nanotechnology. In the next phase of Plata's work, she will collect real-time data from a European nanotube manufacturing facility that is poised to let her set up the same monitors she used in the MIT lab.

"It is the indiscriminant use of poorly understood chemicals that causes environmental and public health costs," Plata said. "We want to work proactively with the carbon nanotube industry to avoid repeating environmental mistakes of the past. Instead of reacting to problems, we hope to preclude them altogether."

Plata was honored in February for her nanotube work by the Division of Environmental Chemistry of the American Chemical Society, which selected her as a winner of one of its 2008 Graduate Student Paper Awards.

Related Links

Making Nanotubes Without Harming the Environment
www.whoi.edu/oceanus/viewArticle.do?id=39147

Protecting Public Healthy By Preventing Pollution
www.whoi.edu/oceanus/viewArticle.do?id=39148

Industrially synthesized single-walled carbon nanotubes: compositional data for users, environmental risk assessments, and source apportionment
www.iop.org/EJ/abstract/0957-4484/19/18/185706

Helping the Carbon Nanotube Industry Avoid Mega-Mistakes of the Past
www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2007-08/acs-htc081007.php

Who is Phil Gschwend?
cee.mit.edu/index.pl?id=2315

Who is Chris Reddy?
www.whoi.edu/hpb/viewPage.do?id=3656&cl=3

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Erin Koenig
Media Relations Coordinator
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
508-289-2270

Media Relations Office
508-289-3340

Copyright © Newswise

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Application of air-sensitive semiconductors in nanoelectronics: 2-D semiconductor gallium selenide in encapsulated nanoelectronic devices September 22nd, 2017

Researchers set time limit for ultrafast perovskite solar cells September 22nd, 2017

DNA triggers shape-shifting in hydrogels, opening a new way to make 'soft robots' September 21st, 2017

Physicists develop new recipes for design of fast single-photon gun Physicists develop high-speed single-photon sources for quantum computers of the future September 21st, 2017

Nanotubes/Buckyballs/Fullerenes/Nanorods

How to draw electricity from the bloodstream: A one-dimensional fluidic nanogenerator with a high power-conversion efficiency September 11th, 2017

Silk could improve sensitivity, flexibility of wearable body sensors August 20th, 2017

Regulation of two-dimensional nanomaterials: New driving force for lithium-ion batteries July 26th, 2017

Killing cancer in the heat of the moment: A new method efficiently transfers genes into cells, then activates them with light. This could lead to gene therapies for cancers July 9th, 2017

Discoveries

Application of air-sensitive semiconductors in nanoelectronics: 2-D semiconductor gallium selenide in encapsulated nanoelectronic devices September 22nd, 2017

Researchers set time limit for ultrafast perovskite solar cells September 22nd, 2017

DNA triggers shape-shifting in hydrogels, opening a new way to make 'soft robots' September 21st, 2017

Physicists develop new recipes for design of fast single-photon gun Physicists develop high-speed single-photon sources for quantum computers of the future September 21st, 2017

Announcements

Application of air-sensitive semiconductors in nanoelectronics: 2-D semiconductor gallium selenide in encapsulated nanoelectronic devices September 22nd, 2017

Researchers set time limit for ultrafast perovskite solar cells September 22nd, 2017

DNA triggers shape-shifting in hydrogels, opening a new way to make 'soft robots' September 21st, 2017

Physicists develop new recipes for design of fast single-photon gun Physicists develop high-speed single-photon sources for quantum computers of the future September 21st, 2017

Environment

Solar-to-fuel system recycles CO2 to make ethanol and ethylene: Berkeley Lab advance is first demonstration of efficient, light-powered production of fuel via artificial photosynthesis September 19th, 2017

High-tech electronics made from autumn leaves: New process converts biomass waste into useful electronic devices August 30th, 2017

Nanoparticles pollution rises 30 percent when flex-fuel cars switch from bio to fossil: Study carried out in S„o Paulo, home to the world's largest flex fuel urban fleet, shows increase of ultrafine particulate matter when ethanol prices rose and consumption fell August 28th, 2017

A more complete picture of the nano world August 24th, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project