Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > UF researchers look for ways to make an emerging technology safe for environment

Abstract:
The percentage of electronic waste occupying our landfills has grown at an alarming rate over the last decade, giving rise to concerns about the toxicity of components used in consumer electronics.

UF researchers look for ways to make an emerging technology safe for environment

Gainesville, FL | Posted on March 21st, 2012

Researchers at the University of Florida are looking for ways to minimize environmental hazards associated with a material likely to play an increasingly important role in the manufacture of these goods in the future. The results of their most recent studies are published in the March 2012 issue of Nanotoxicology.

Carbon nanotubes are already being used in touch screens and to make smaller, more efficient transistors. And if current research to develop them for use in lithium ion batteries is successful, carbon nanotubes could become important technology for powering everything from smartphones to hybrid vehicles. But for all of the promise developers see in this emerging technology, there is also some concern.

"Depending on how the nanotubes are used, they can be toxic - exhibiting properties similar to asbestos in laboratory mice," said Jean-Claude Bonzongo, associate professor of environmental engineering at UF's College of Engineering. He is involved in a research collaboration with Kirk Ziegler, a UF associate professor of chemical engineering, to minimize this important material's potential for harm.

In particular, the UF team is investigating toxicity associated with aqueous solutions of carbon nanotubes that would be used in certain manufacturing processes.

"At the nano-scale, electron interactions between atoms are restricted, and that creates some of the desirable traits like the high conductivity that manufacturers want to take advantage of with carbon nanotubes," Ziegler said. "But exploiting those properties is difficult because the nanotubes tend to clump together."

For that reason, carbon nanotubes have to be treated in some way to keep them dispersed and available for electron interactions that make them good conductors. One way to do it is to mix them with an aqueous solution that acts as a detergent and separates the tangled bundles.

"Some of the surfactants, or solutions, are toxic on their own," Bonzongo said. "And others become toxic in the presence of carbon nanotubes."

He and Zeigler are focusing their investigations on solutions that become hazardous when mixed with the carbon nanotubes. Their most recent results indicate that toxicity can be reduced by controlling the ratio of liquid to particulate.

A cost-effective means of unbundling nanotubes remains one of the last hurdles for manufacturers to clear before they can employ the technology in mass-produced electronics. Current processes used for laboratory prototypes, including mechanical homogenization or centrifugal sifting, would be too expensive for manufacturing consumer electronics. For that reason, liquid suspension agents may be the way forward if we are to have nano-tech products for the masses.

"It's an emerging technology," Bonzongo said. "We want to get ahead of it and make sure that the progress is sustainable in terms of the environment and human health."

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Writer
Donna Hesterman

352-846-2573

Source
Jean-Claude Bonzongo

352-392-7604

Source
Kirk Ziegler

352-392-3412

Copyright © University of Florida

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

Histology in 3-D: New staining method enables Nano-CT imaging of tissue samples February 22nd, 2018

Developing reliable quantum computers February 22nd, 2018

Imaging individual flexible DNA 'building blocks' in 3-D: Berkeley Lab researchers generate first images of 129 DNA structures February 22nd, 2018

'Memtransistor' brings world closer to brain-like computing: Combined memristor and transistor can process information and store memory with one device February 22nd, 2018

Nanotubes/Buckyballs/Fullerenes/Nanorods

Nanotube fibers in a jiffy: Rice University lab makes short nanotube samples by hand to dramatically cut production time January 11th, 2018

Touchy nanotubes work better when clean: Rice, Swansea scientists show that decontaminating nanotubes can simplify nanoscale devices January 4th, 2018

Paving the way for a non-electric battery to store solar energy: UMass Amherst scientists say a polymer chain organized like a string of Christmas lights assists energy storage December 22nd, 2017

Nanotubes go with the flow to penetrate brain tissue: Rice University scientists, engineers develop microfluidic devices, microelectrodes for gentle implantation December 19th, 2017

Discoveries

Histology in 3-D: New staining method enables Nano-CT imaging of tissue samples February 22nd, 2018

Developing reliable quantum computers February 22nd, 2018

Imaging individual flexible DNA 'building blocks' in 3-D: Berkeley Lab researchers generate first images of 129 DNA structures February 22nd, 2018

'Memtransistor' brings world closer to brain-like computing: Combined memristor and transistor can process information and store memory with one device February 22nd, 2018

Announcements

Histology in 3-D: New staining method enables Nano-CT imaging of tissue samples February 22nd, 2018

Developing reliable quantum computers February 22nd, 2018

Imaging individual flexible DNA 'building blocks' in 3-D: Berkeley Lab researchers generate first images of 129 DNA structures February 22nd, 2018

'Memtransistor' brings world closer to brain-like computing: Combined memristor and transistor can process information and store memory with one device February 22nd, 2018

Environment

Ultra-efficient removal of carbon monoxide using gold nanoparticles on a molecular support: New method and mechanism for state-of-the-art gas purification February 9th, 2018

New filters could enable manufacturers to perform highly-selective chemical separation January 23rd, 2018

Rice U.'s one-step catalyst turns nitrates into water and air: NSF-funded NEWT Center aims for catalytic converter for nitrate-polluted water January 5th, 2018

'Quantum material' has shark-like ability to detect small electrical signals December 20th, 2017

Safety-Nanoparticles/Risk management

How harmful are nano-copper and anti-fungal combinations in the waterways? October 27th, 2017

Do titanium dioxide particles from orthopedic implants disrupt bone repair? September 16th, 2017

Tests show no nanotubes released during utilisation of nanoaugmented materials June 9th, 2017

NanoMONITOR shares its latest developments concerning the NanoMONITOR Software and the Monitoring stations April 21st, 2017

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



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project