Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

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

UT Arlington physicist creates new nanoparticle for cancer therapy April 16th, 2014

Relieving electric vehicle range anxiety with improved batteries: Lithium-sulfur batteries last longer with nanomaterial-packed cathode April 16th, 2014

Aerotech X-Y ball-screw stage for economical high performance Planar positioning April 16th, 2014

Energy Research Facility Construction Project at Brookhaven Lab Wins U.S. Energy Secretary's Achievement Award April 16th, 2014

Discoveries

Scientists observe quantum superconductor-metal transition and superconducting glass: A team including MIPT physicist observed quantum superconductor-metal transition and superconducting glass April 16th, 2014

UT Arlington physicist creates new nanoparticle for cancer therapy April 16th, 2014

A molecular approach to solar power: Switchable material could harness the power of the sun — even when it’s not shining April 15th, 2014

Targeting cancer with a triple threat: MIT chemists design nanoparticles that can deliver three cancer drugs at a time April 15th, 2014

Announcements

UT Arlington physicist creates new nanoparticle for cancer therapy April 16th, 2014

Relieving electric vehicle range anxiety with improved batteries: Lithium-sulfur batteries last longer with nanomaterial-packed cathode April 16th, 2014

Aerotech X-Y ball-screw stage for economical high performance Planar positioning April 16th, 2014

Energy Research Facility Construction Project at Brookhaven Lab Wins U.S. Energy Secretary's Achievement Award April 16th, 2014

Environment

Trees go high-tech: process turns cellulose into energy storage devices April 7th, 2014

Fabricating Nanostructures with Silk Could Make Clean Rooms Green Rooms March 31st, 2014

University of Waterloo Engineering to Showcase Student Design March 14th, 2014

Iran Applying Nanotechnology in Growing Number of Industries March 10th, 2014

Water

Trees go high-tech: process turns cellulose into energy storage devices April 7th, 2014

Dais Analytic Wins SBIR Grant: Dais Analytic Receives US Army Small Business Innovation Research Grant to Further Its Demonstrated Successes in Cleaning Most Forms of Wastewater March 28th, 2014

University of Waterloo Engineering to Showcase Student Design March 14th, 2014

Iran Applying Nanotechnology in Growing Number of Industries March 10th, 2014

Events/Classes

'Life Redesigned: The Emergence of Synthetic Biology' Lecture at Brookhaven Lab on Wednesday, April 30: Biomedical Engineer James Collins to Speak for BSA Distinguished Lecture Series April 16th, 2014

ECHA Planning Workshop on Regulatory Challenges in the Risk Assessment of Nanomaterials April 16th, 2014

Engineers develop new materials for hydrogen storage April 15th, 2014

Near-field Nanophotonics Workshop in Boston April 14th, 2014

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 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE