Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors


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

Cooling graphene-based film close to pilot-scale production April 30th, 2016

Personal cooling units on the horizon April 29th, 2016

Exploring phosphorene, a promising new material April 29th, 2016

The Translational Research Center at the University Hospital of Erlangen in Germany uses the ZetaView from Particle Metrix to quantify extracellular vesicles such as exosomes April 28th, 2016

Discoveries

Cooling graphene-based film close to pilot-scale production April 30th, 2016

Personal cooling units on the horizon April 29th, 2016

Exploring phosphorene, a promising new material April 29th, 2016

Superfast light source made from artificial atom April 28th, 2016

Announcements

Cooling graphene-based film close to pilot-scale production April 30th, 2016

Personal cooling units on the horizon April 29th, 2016

Exploring phosphorene, a promising new material April 29th, 2016

The Translational Research Center at the University Hospital of Erlangen in Germany uses the ZetaView from Particle Metrix to quantify extracellular vesicles such as exosomes April 28th, 2016

Environment

Team builds first quantum cascade laser on silicon: Eliminates the need for an external light source for mid-infrared silicon photonic devices or photonic circuits April 21st, 2016

Atomically thin sensor detects harmful air pollution in the home April 18th, 2016

Catalyst could make production of key chemical more eco-friendly April 10th, 2016

Nanoporous material's strange "breathing" behavior April 7th, 2016

Water

Novel anti-biofilm nano coating developed at Ben-Gurion U.: Offers significant anti-adhesive potential for a variety of medical and industrial applications April 25th, 2016

Adding some salt to the recipe for energy storage materials: Researchers use common table salt as growth template April 22nd, 2016

NRL reveals novel uniform coating process of p-ALD April 21st, 2016

Researchers create perfect nanoscrolls from graphene’s imperfect form April 14th, 2016

Events/Classes

Researchers create a first frequency comb of time-bin entangled qubits: Discovery is a significant step toward multi-channel quantum communication and higher capacity quantum computers April 28th, 2016

Introducing the RE標ORK Bio-inspired Robotics Summit in Berlin April 27th, 2016

ORIG3N Added to Companies Presenting at Harris & Harris Group's Annual Meeting, Tuesday June 7, 2016, the New York Genome Center April 27th, 2016

Team builds first quantum cascade laser on silicon: Eliminates the need for an external light source for mid-infrared silicon photonic devices or photonic circuits April 21st, 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