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UF researchers look for ways to make an emerging technology safe for environment
Date:3/21/2012

lectron interactions that make them good conductors. One way to do it is to mix them with an aqueous solution that acts as a detergent and separates the tangled bundles.

"Some of the surfactants, or solutions, are toxic on their own," Bonzongo said. "And others become toxic in the presence of carbon nanotubes."

He and Zeigler are focusing their investigations on solutions that become hazardous when mixed with the carbon nanotubes. Their most recent results indicate that toxicity can be reduced by controlling the ratio of liquid to particulate.

A cost-effective means of unbundling nanotubes remains one of the last hurdles for manufacturers to clear before they can employ the technology in mass-produced electronics. Current processes used for laboratory prototypes, including mechanical homogenization or centrifugal sifting, would be too expensive for manufacturing consumer electronics. For that reason, liquid suspension agents may be the way forward if we are to have nano-tech products for the masses.

"It's an emerging technology," Bonzongo said. "We want to get ahead of it and make sure that the progress is sustainable in terms of the environment and human health."


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Contact: Jean-Claude Bonzongo
bonzongo@ufl.edu
352-392-7604
University of Florida
Source:Eurekalert

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