Carbon nanomaterials may disperse more widely in waterways

December 4, 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: Researcher explores the use of novel nanomaterials to combat contaminants in water

Related Stories

Controlling Chemistry Improves Potential of Carbon Nanotubes

July 13, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- A team of University of Maryland nanotechnology researchers has solved one of the most vexing challenges hindering the use of carbon nanomaterials for better electrical energy storage or enhancing the fluorescence ...

New sensor sends electronic signal when estrogen is detected

November 24, 2015

Estrogen is a tiny molecule, but it can have big effects on humans and other animals. Estrogen is one of the main hormones that regulates the female reproductive system - it can be monitored to track human fertility and is ...

Carbon nanotubes find real world applications

March 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 magnitude by weight ...

Recommended for you

Breakthrough in ultra-fast data processing at nanoscale

October 20, 2017

A research team from the National University of Singapore has recently invented a novel "converter" that can harness the speed and small size of plasmons for high frequency data processing and transmission in nanoelectronics.

Art advancing science at the nanoscale

October 18, 2017

Like many other scientists, Don Ingber, M.D., Ph.D., the Founding Director of the Wyss Institute, is concerned that non-scientists have become skeptical and even fearful of his field at a time when technology can offer solutions ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.