Carbon nanomaterials may disperse more widely in waterways

Dec 04, 2006

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) released to the environment in the coming era of industrial-scale production could spread through lakes, rivers and other waterways more widely than previously anticipated, scientists are reporting in a study scheduled for the January 1, 2007, issue of ACS's Environmental Science & Technology.

The Georgia Institute of Technology's Jaehong Kim and colleagues point out that industrial-scale production facilities for CNTs are now under construction in order to meet anticipated demand for these nanomaterials in a range of commercial applications. Gaps, however, still remain in understanding of the possible health and environmental effects of CNTs, they add.

CNTs are extremely hydrophobic - repelled by water - and clump together rather than dispersing widely in pure water. That led to reduced concerns about widespread dispersion of CNTs in the water environment. The new study, however, showed that CNTs interact with natural organic matter, which is present in lakes and rivers, in ways that lead to wider dispersion.

The researchers conclude: "These findings suggest that dispersal of carbon-based nanomaterials in the natural, aqueous environment might occur to an unexpected extent following a mechanism that has not been previously considered in environmental fate and transport studies."

Source: American Chemical Society

Explore further: Atom-width graphene sensors could provide unprecedented insights into brain structure and function

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Carbon nanotubes find real world applications

Mar 31, 2014

No one disputes that carbon nanotubes have the potential to be a wonder technology: their properties include a thermal conductivity higher than diamond, greater mechanical strength than steel – orders of ...

Recommended for you

Tuning light to kill deep cancer tumors

Oct 15, 2014

An international group of scientists led by Gang Han, PhD, at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, has combined a new type of nanoparticle with an FDA-approved photodynamic therapy to effectively kill deep-set ...

User comments : 0