RIVERSIDE, Calif. In a first-of-its-kind study of how a material some think could transform the electronics industry moves in water, researchers at the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering found graphene oxide nanoparticles are very mobile in lakes or streams and therefore likely to cause negative environmental impacts if released.
Graphene oxide nanoparticles are an oxidized form of graphene, a single layer of carbon atoms prized for its strength, conductivity and flexibility. Applications for graphene include everything from cell phones and tablet computers to biomedical devices and solar panels.
The use of graphene and other carbon-based nanomaterials, such as carbon nanotubes, are growing rapidly. At the same time, recent studies have suggested graphene oxide may be toxic to humans.
As production of these nanomaterials increase, it is important for regulators, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, to understand their potential environmental impacts, said Jacob D. Lanphere, a UC Riverside graduate student who co-authored a just-published paper about graphene oxide nanoparticles transport in ground and surface water environments.
"The situation today is similar to where we were with chemicals and pharmaceuticals 30 years ago," Lanphere said. "We just don't know much about what happens when these engineered nanomaterials get into the ground or water. So we have to be proactive so we have the data available to promote sustainable applications of this technology in the future."
The paper co-authored by Lanphere, "Stability and Transport of Graphene Oxide Nanoparticles in Groundwater and Surface Water," was published in a special issue of the journal Environmental Engineering Science.
Other authors were: Sharon L. Walker, an associate professor and the John Babbage Chair in Environmental Engineering at UC Riverside; Br
|Contact: Sean Nealon|
University of California - Riverside