Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Tracking water pollutants

Chin-Pao Huang is principal investigator on a project to investigate engineered nanoparticles in ground wastewater. Photo by Kevin Quinlan.
Chin-Pao Huang is principal investigator on a project to investigate engineered nanoparticles in ground wastewater. Photo by Kevin Quinlan.

Abstract:
Study evaluates engineered nanoparticles in wastewater

by Karen B. Roberts

Tracking water pollutants

Newark, DE | Posted on June 19th, 2011

Have you ever wondered what happens to sunscreen after it swirls down the drain with your soap?

Probably not, but it is a question that makes Prof. Chin-Pao Huang curious. Sunscreen contains titanium dioxide, an engineered nanoparticle (ENP) that improves the product's performance, reducing your sunburn risk while outdoors.

But if titanium dioxide doesn't dissolve, where does it go once you wash it off?

Huang, Donald C. Phillips Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Delaware, is principal investigator (PI) of a new grant exploring whether ENP are present in ground wastewater. Murray Johnston, professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, serves as co-PI on the project.

By definition, nanomaterials are materials 1-100 nanometers in length -- one thousand times smaller than a human hair. ENP are synthetic materials created in a laboratory. Invisible to the naked eye, they possess unique properties that are increasingly used in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, electronics and appliances.

The same properties that make ENP attractive, however, also have drawbacks. According to Huang, increased nanomaterial use will ultimately result in their escape into the environment, namely the atmosphere, soil and water. Municipal and industrial wastewater is expected to be the major transport route for ENP due to the way these ENP are being used by consumers.

"There is a lot we don't know yet about the ENP lifecycle, including how nanomaterials present in our environment affect organisms, water and the ecosystem," says Huang. Their small size makes detecting and isolating ENP technically challenging, he adds.

Funded by a three year $599,000 STAR grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Huang's group is focusing on the fate, transport and behavior of four main engineered nanomaterials:

* Titanium dioxide (found in sunblock and food additives)
* Zinc oxide (found in cosmetics and food)
* Carbon nanotubes (increasingly used in medicines and printer ink)
* Silver (used in refrigerators and disinfecting products)

"Knowing what happens to the particles will allow scientists to focus on making them safer for the environment," explains Huang.

The UD research team is using a new experimental technique to collect and characterize wastewater and sludge samples from four major municipal wastewater treatment plants in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Wilmington. The technique involves using electrically assisted tangential flow (EATF) membrane filtration and electrospray aerosol analysis (EAA), coupled with a nano aerosol mass spectrometer (NAMS), to trace and quantify which nanomaterials remain in the system and where they end up.

The results will assist wastewater process design engineers in developing new treatment processes to eliminate solids such as titanium dioxide from wastewater and prevent it from leeching into the environment where its effects, as yet, are unknown. It will also help public and private sector decision makers in revising wastewater treatment quality standards.

"This is the only research study worldwide being carried out at such a large and comprehensive scale," says Huang. He believes a concerted effort is needed not just locally, but globally as well. To that end, Huang plans to initiate similar research programs with scientists from partner institutions in Taiwan, Korea and China.

Research will be conducted in the Aquatic Environmental Engineering Laboratory in UD's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Aerosol Chemistry Laboratory in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

About the researchers

Chin-Pao Huang is one of the most highly respected aquatic chemists worldwide. He has more than 40 years of research experience in aquatic chemistry and physical-chemical processes for water and wastewater treatment. His expertise includes transport of heavy metals in municipal wastewater treatment plants, speciation of lead in groundwater and interactions between nanoparticles and aquatic organisms.

Murray Johnston's career includes more than 20 years of research experience as a leader in the development and use of aerosol mass spectrometry to study the source and transformation of particulate matter. His current work emphasizes the detection and characterization of nanoparticles in ambient air, especially the urban environment.


####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
News Media Contact
University of Delaware
Office of Communications & Marketing
302-831-NEWS

Copyright © University of Delaware

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

Leti and Taiwanese Tech Organizations Sponsoring Workshop in Taipei on MEMS, IoT, Smart Lighting Applications, System Reliability & Security September 28th, 2016

Dr Barbara Armbruster promoted to Worldwide Sales and Marketing Director for XEI Scientific September 27th, 2016

Fighting cancer with sticky nanoparticles September 27th, 2016

Gold nanoparticles conjugated quercetin inhibits epithelial-mesenchymal transition, angiogenesis and invasiveness via EGFR/VEGFR-2 mediated pathway in breast cancer September 27th, 2016

Academic/Education

PHENOMEN is a FET-Open Research Project aiming to lay the foundations a new information technology September 19th, 2016

AIM Photonics Announces Release of Process Design Kit (PDK) for Integrated Silicon Photonics Design August 25th, 2016

Nanotech Security Featured by Simon Fraser University: Company's Anti-Counterfeiting Technology Developed With the Help of University's 4D LABS Materials Research Institute August 21st, 2016

W.M. Keck Foundation awards Cal State LA a $375,000 research and education grant August 4th, 2016

Environment

Coffee-infused foam removes lead from contaminated water September 21st, 2016

Mathematical nanotoxicoproteomics: Quantitative characterization of effects of multi-walled carbon nanotubes: This research article by Dr. Subhash Basak et al. will be published in Current Computer-Aided Drug Design, Volume 12, 2016 September 2nd, 2016

Nanofur for oil spill cleanup: Materials researchers learn from aquatic ferns: Hairy plant leaves are highly oil-absorbing / publication in bioinspiration & biomimetics / video on absorption capacity August 25th, 2016

Researchers watch catalysts at work August 19th, 2016

Water

Oxford Instruments systems now facilitate water purification technology September 27th, 2016

Atomic scale pipes available on demand and by design September 9th, 2016

University of Akron researchers find thin layers of water can become ice-like at room temperature: Results could lead to an assortment of anti-friction solutions August 30th, 2016

SLAC, Stanford gadget grabs more solar energy to disinfect water faster: Plopped into water, a tiny device triggers the formation of chemicals that kill microbes in minutes August 15th, 2016

Grants/Awards/Scholarships/Gifts/Contests/Honors/Records

Tattoo therapy could ease chronic disease: Rice-made nanoparticles tested at Baylor College of Medicine may help control autoimmune diseases September 23rd, 2016

Semiconducting inorganic double helix: New flexible semiconductor for electronics, solar technology and photo catalysis September 15th, 2016

Bringing graphene speakers to the mobile market (video) September 12th, 2016

Novel nanoscale detection of real-time DNA amplification holds promise for diagnostics: Research team led by Nagoya University develop a label-free method for detecting DNA amplification in real time based on refractive index changes in diffracted light September 12th, 2016

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







Car Brands
Buy website traffic