Navigation Links
Making sure the wonder materials don't become the wonder pollutant
Date:4/8/2008

Carbon nanotubes are 10,000 times thinner than a human hair, yet stronger than steel and more durable than diamonds. They conduct heat and electricity with efficiency that rivals copper wires and silicon chips, with possible uses in everything from concrete and clothes to bicycle parts and electronics. The have been hailed as the next wonder material for what could become a multi-billion dollar manufacturing industry in the 21st century.

But as useful as nanotubes may be, the process of making them may have unintentional and potentially harmful impacts on the environment. MIT/WHOI graduate student Desire Plata and her mentorschemists Phil Gschwend of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Chris Reddy of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institutionrecently analyzed ten commercially made carbon nanotubes to identify the chemical byproducts of the manufacturing process and to help track them in the environment.

Plata found that the ten different carbon nanotubes had vastly different compositions; most previous toxicity studies have generally assumed that all nanotubes are the same. This diversity of chemical signatures will make it harder to trace the impacts of carbon nanotubes in the environment

In previous work (first presented last fall), Plata and colleagues found that the process of nanotube manufacturing produced emissions of at least 15 aromatic hydrocarbons, including four different kinds of toxic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) similar to those found in cigarette smoke and automobile tailpipe emissions. They also found that the process was largely inefficient: much of the raw carbon went unconsumed and was vented into the atmosphere.

The new research by Plata et al was published April 3 on the web site of the journal Nanotechnology. In the next phase of Platas work, she will collect real-time data from a European nanotube manufacturing facility that is poised to let her set up the same monitors she used in the MIT lab.

It is the indiscriminant use of poorly understood chemicals that causes environmental and public health costs, Plata said. We want to work proactively with the carbon nanotube industry to avoid repeating environmental mistakes of the past. Instead of reacting to problems, we hope to preclude them altogether.

Plata was honored in February for her nanotube work by the Division of Environmental Chemistry of the American Chemical Society, which selected her as a winner of one of its 2008 Graduate Student Paper Awards.


'/>"/>

Contact: Media Relations
media@whoi.edu
508-289-3340
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. LSU scientist finds evidence of rain-making bacteria
2. Is that sea otter stealing your lunch -- or making it?
3. Making sense of antisense microRNAs
4. GBIF making the search for biodiversity research resources easier
5. Another type of nanotube, a how-to guide to making bamboo-structured carbon nanotubes
6. Coal and black liquor can produce energy from papermaking
7. Lensless camera uses X-rays to view nanoscale materials and biological specimens
8. Sea cliff erosion, hemp construction materials and more at UCSD Engineering Conference
9. Purdue researchers obtain a snapshot clarifying how materials enter cells
10. Scientists discover record-breaking hydrogen storage materials for use in fuel cells
11. Keck Foundation funds study of biological interactions with nanomaterials
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/27/2016)... , June 27, 2016 Research and ... North America 2016-2020" report to their offering. ... North America to grow at a CAGR of ... been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from ... prospects over the coming years. The report also includes a discussion ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... June 22, 2016  The American College of Medical Genetics ... Executive Magazine as one of the fastest-growing trade shows ... at the Bellagio in Las Vegas . ... percentage of growth in each of the following categories: net ... and number of attendees. The 2015 ACMG Annual Meeting was ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... ANGELES , June 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... identity management and verification solutions, has partnered ... edge software solutions for Visitor Management, Self-Service ... provides products that add functional enhancements ... partnership provides corporations and venues with an ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)...  Alex,s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), a leading national ... a state-of-the-art bioinformatics lab, using ,big data, to advance ... as Liz Scott , co-executive director of ALSF ... in Washington, D.C. , hosted by ... advocate of pediatric cancer research and awareness. ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... , June 27, 2016  Global demand for ... percent through 2020 to $7.2 billion.  This market ... beverages, cleaning products, biofuel production, animal feed, and ... diagnostics, and biocatalysts). Food and beverages will remain ... by increasing consumption of products containing enzymes in ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... /PRNewswire/ - BIOREM Inc. (TSX-V: BRM) ("Biorem" or "the Company") ... shareholders, Clean Technology Fund I, LP and Clean Technology ... based venture capital funds which together hold approximately 59% ... diluted, as converted basis), that they have entered into ... holdings in Biorem to TUS Holdings Co. Ltd. ("TUS") ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... DIEGO , June 27, 2016  Sequenom, Inc. ... committed to enabling healthier lives through the development of ... Court of the United States ... courts that the claims of Sequenom,s U.S. Patent No. ... patent eligibility criteria established by the Supreme Court,s Mayo ...
Breaking Biology Technology: