Nanotechnology Now







Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Nanoparticles seek and destroy groundwater toxins

Dr Denis O'Carroll and colleagues at groundwater test site in Ontario, Canada
Dr Denis O'Carroll and colleagues at groundwater test site in Ontario, Canada

Abstract:
Iron nanoparticles encapsulated in a rust-preventing polymer coating could hold incredible potential for cleaning up groundwater contaminated with toxic chemicals, a leading water expert says.

Nanoparticles seek and destroy groundwater toxins

Sydney, Australia | Posted on June 4th, 2012

Hundreds of sites around Sydney where soils have been contaminated from past industrial waste, landfills and gas leaks are known to exist, including the former HMAS Platypus submarine base in Neutral Bay and the Orica site in Botany Bay.

"Toxic contamination of soils is an historical problem," says Dr Denis O'Carroll, a visiting academic at the UNSW Water Research Lab. "Until the 1970s, people wrongly believed that if we put these toxins into the ground they would simply disappear - that the subsurface would act as a natural filtration unit."

"The possibility of this waste polluting the environment, and potentially contaminating groundwater sources and remaining there for decades was ignored," he says.

Far from magically disappearing, chemical contaminants from spilled gas and solvents, when not directly polluting surface waters, seep down into the earth, travelling through microscopic soil cracks, where they accumulate and can eventually reach the groundwater table.

Traditional clean-up methods have focussed on pumping out the contaminated water or flushing out toxins with a specially designed cleansing solution, but these are limited by difficulties in accurately pinpointing and accessing locations where contamination has occurred, says O'Carroll.

His approach is to tackle toxic contaminants with nanotechnology. O'Carroll, who is visiting UNSW from the University of Western Ontario in Canada, has been trialling an innovative new groundwater clean-up technology using metal nanoparticles 500 to 5,000 times narrower than a human hair.

The iron particles are injected directly into contaminated soil where they flow to the contaminants and initiate a redox reaction, whereby electrons are transferred between the particle and the pollutant. This reaction changes the oxidation state of the pollutant and diminishes its overall toxicity to safer levels, says O'Carroll.

"The tiny scale of these nanoparticles allows them to move through microscopic flow channels in soil and rock to reach and destroy pollutants that larger particles cannot," says O'Carroll.

In addition, iron nanoparticles are particularly safe for use in the environment as they are not very mobile and dissolve quickly, says O'Carroll. This, in fact, is somewhat of a detriment as it limits the nanoparticles' ability to seek out and degrade toxins.

To optimise the nanoparticles, O'Carroll is experimenting with different formations of iron, and encapsulating the particles in a rust-preventing polymer, which slows the dissolution process and increases their mobility, without any adverse environmental impacts.

Two contaminated sites in Ontario have been used for field trials of the novel technology and "significant degradation of the contaminants at both sites has been observed", says O'Carroll, whose research has been featured on David Suzuki's The Nature of Things.

Dr O'Carroll will discuss his research on Tuesday June 5 at Manly Council Chambers at 7pm as part of World Environment Day celebrations. It is free and open to the public but bookings are essential. To book, ring the Manly Environment Centre on 9976 2842 during business hours.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Media Contact:
Dr Denis O’Carroll
0458 366 243


Myles Gough
UNSW Media Office
02 9385 1933

Copyright © University of New South Wales

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

Toyocolor to Launch New Carbon Nanotube Materials at nano tech 2015 January 24th, 2015

NANOPOSTER 2015 - 5th Virtual Nanotechnology Conference - call for abstracts January 24th, 2015

Nanosensor Used for Simultaneous Determination of Effective Tea Components January 24th, 2015

The latest fashion: Graphene edges can be tailor-made: Rice University theory shows it should be possible to tune material's properties January 24th, 2015

Discoveries

Nanosensor Used for Simultaneous Determination of Effective Tea Components January 24th, 2015

The latest fashion: Graphene edges can be tailor-made: Rice University theory shows it should be possible to tune material's properties January 24th, 2015

Iranian Scientists Produce Graphene-Based Oxygen Sensor January 23rd, 2015

Silver nanowires demonstrate unexpected self-healing mechanism: The material has potential for flexible electronics January 23rd, 2015

Announcements

Toyocolor to Launch New Carbon Nanotube Materials at nano tech 2015 January 24th, 2015

NANOPOSTER 2015 - 5th Virtual Nanotechnology Conference - call for abstracts January 24th, 2015

Nanosensor Used for Simultaneous Determination of Effective Tea Components January 24th, 2015

The latest fashion: Graphene edges can be tailor-made: Rice University theory shows it should be possible to tune material's properties January 24th, 2015

Environment

Magnetic Nanosorbents Able to Eliminate Chemical Contaminants January 19th, 2015

Malaysian Nanotechnology Company Nanopac Innovation Ltd. lists on the NSX January 19th, 2015

Iran Designs Magnetic Nano-Absorbents Cleaning Chemical Pollutants January 11th, 2015

Cheap asphalt provides 'green' carbon capture: Rice University chemists' product aims to enhance natural gas production at sea January 7th, 2015

Water

Nanoparticles for clean drinking water January 17th, 2015

Going with the flow January 16th, 2015

Rice's Naomi Halas to direct Smalley Institute: Optics pioneer will lead Rice's multidisciplinary science institute January 15th, 2015

Liquids and glasses relax, too. But not like you thought January 15th, 2015

Events/Classes

Toyocolor to Launch New Carbon Nanotube Materials at nano tech 2015 January 24th, 2015

NANOPOSTER 2015 - 5th Virtual Nanotechnology Conference - call for abstracts January 24th, 2015

PEN Inc. New Product Development Highlighted for Emerging Nanotechnology Enterprises: Scott Rickert, PEN Chairman, Addresses Webinar for National Nanotechnology Coordination Office January 22nd, 2015

Teijin to Participate in Nano Tech 2015 January 22nd, 2015

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







© Copyright 1999-2015 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE