Nanoscale technology
Interesting tech developments in nanotech, nanostructured materials, etc.

Ken Novak's Weblog


daily link  Wednesday, November 30, 2005


First Inventory of Nanotech Environment & Health Research: "A new inventory of research into nanotechnology’s potential environmental, human health, and safety effects (EH&S) shows the need for more resources, for a coherent risk-related research strategy, and for public-private partnerships and international EH&S research collaborations. These are the key conclusions drawn from the first single inventory of largely government-funded research projects exploring nanotechnology’s possible EH&S impacts.

This unique inventory is publicly available online at www.nanotechproject.org or www.wilsoncenter.org. It was compiled and released by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The Project is a partnership of The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Wilson Center. ..

“Specifically, out of a total of 161 federally-funded, risk-related projects, the Project’s scientists found only 15 relevant to occupation-caused physical injury (totaling $1.7 million), and only two highly relevant projects on the long-term environmental and occupational exposures that potentially could cause disease (totaling $0.2 million).  These are important gaps that must be filled to ensure that nanotechnology is safely commercialized and accepted by the public as not harmful,” stated Dr. Maynard.  ..

“The good news is that the U.S. appears to be spending more on EH&S research than any other government. .. The bad news is that current spending levels are not adequate to begin to answer the difficult environmental and human health impact questions raised by worker exposure to nanomaterials, by rapid consumer product commercialization and eventual disposal, and by concentrated environmental exposures from the possible application of nanoparticles to soil or water for remediation purposes in the future"

  10:52:29 PM  permalink  

Nano powder spray defense:  "Discharged from a pressurized cylinder, a new powder known as FAST-ACT (First Applied Sorbent Treatment-Against Chemical Threats) neutralizes mustard gas, sarin and other chemical-warfare agents--as well as many industrial chemicals. The powder, developed by Kansas State University chemist Kenneth Klabunde (pictured), consists of nanostructured crystallites of magnesium oxide (MgO) and titanium oxide (TiO2). Each grain’s jagged edges multiply the powder’s surface area and porosity, making it highly reactive. Common MgO powder has a surface area of 30 square meters per gram; with FAST-ACT’s nanostructuring, that grows to 320 square meters. “Seventeen grams of the powder has the surface area of a football field,” Klabunde says.

Sprayed at a chlorine gas leak, the powder knocks the vapor to earth, leaving a harmless solid to be swept up. When pitted against VX nerve gas in tests at the U.S. Soldier Biological Chemical Command, the nanopowder quickly prevailed, converting 99.9 percent of the killer gas into a less hazardous solid."  For sale now, along with other nanopowders.

  10:05:24 PM  permalink  

Nano-sponges for toxic metals: Show promise for water treatment; I wonder if it might speed catalysts. "Microscopic particles honeycombed with holes only nanometers wide soon could help purify industrial runoff, coal plant smoke, crude oil and drinking water of toxic metals .. The particles, made of glass or natural diatomaceous earth, are 5 millionths to 50 millionths of a meter wide and filled with holes a thousand times smaller. The surfaces of these particles can bear a variety of flavors or coatings that soak up specific toxic metals -- for instance, sulfurous organic coatings attract mercury, while coppery organic coatings bind to arsenic and radioactive metals known as actinides. The particles' spongy nature gives them an incredible 6,400 square feet to nearly 11,000 square feet of surface area per gram of material with which to draw in toxins.

Physical chemists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., developed the particles, known as SAMMS -- or self-assembled monolayers on mesoporous supports -- to remove mercury from oil in nuclear facility pumps last decade. Over the past three years, the scientists have vastly broadened the potential applications of the particles and partnered with companies to bring them into greater use.  "We have a technology that can be used to address a large number of emerging water treatment problems, with arsenic and mercury as just a couple of examples," said Richard Skaggs a civil engineer at PNNL. .. The SAMMS particles can not only soak up toxic metals, but once disposed of in landfills, the particles also should prove too large for microbes to consume. Keeping microbes clean of toxins helps ensure the metals do not enter the ecosystem and become concentrated, for instance, in fish.. "We see a cost reduction of a factor of 10 when it comes to saving landfill space because only very, very small amounts of material are needed," Skaggs added. "

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Copyright 2005 © Ken Novak.
Last update: 11/30/2005; 10:52:38 PM.
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