Category: Nanotechnology

Newly discovered material may ease wear and tear on extraterrestrial vehicles

Read the full story from Missouri S&T.

As NASA’s Mars Perseverance Rover continues to explore the surface of Mars, scientists on Earth have developed a new nanoscale metal carbide that could act as a “superlubricant” to reduce wear and tear on future rovers.

Researchers in Missouri S&T’s chemistry department and Argonne National Laboratory’s Center for Nanoscale Materials, working with a class of two-dimensional nanomaterials known as MXenes, have discovered that the materials work well to reduce friction. The materials also should perform better than conventional oil-based lubricants in extreme environments, says Dr. Vadym Mochalin, associate professor of chemistry at Missouri S&T, who is leading the research.

Adapting solar energy technology to detect chemical warfare agents and pesticides

Read the full story from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science.

In a colorful solution to a dangerous problem, Australian scientists are adapting a component from cutting-edge solar cells to design a rapid, light-based detection system for deadly toxins.

How Does Nanotechnology Address Problems in the Environment?

Read the full story at Azo Nano.

Environmental protection is one of the critical challenges faced by the human race. Over the years, we have unintentionally devastated our surroundings by creating and discarding plastics, contributed to climate change by mining and burning fossil fuels, and polluted our air and waterways with human-made creations.

But now it is time to repair the environment and our relationship with it, with nanotechnology set to play a vital role in securing the future sustainability of our planet.

Flexible and reusable carbon nano-fibre membranes for airborne contaminants capture

Al-Attabi, R. et al (2021). “Flexible and reusable carbon nano-fibre membranes for airborne contaminants capture.” Science of the Total Environment 754, 142231. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.142231

Abstract: Airborne aerosol pollutants generated from combustion vehicles exhausts, industrial facilities and microorganisms represent serious health challenges. Although membrane separation has emerged as a technique of choice for airborne contaminants removal, allowing for both size exclusion and surface adsorption. Here, electrospun carbon nanofibre mats were formed from poly(acrylonitrile) by systematic stabilization and carbonization processes to generate flexible and self-standing membranes for air filtration. The great mechanical flexibility of the electrospun carbon-nanofibre membranes was achieved through extreme quenching conditions on a carbon fibre processing line, allowing for complete carbonization in just 3 min. The carbonized nanofibre membranes, with fibre diameters in the range of 218 to 565 nm exhibited modulus of elasticity around 277.5 MPa. The samples exhibited air filtration efficiencies in the range of 97.2 to 99.4% for aerosol particle in the size of 300 nm based on face velocity, higher than benchmark commercial glass fibre (GF) air filters. The carbonized electrospun nanofibre membranes also yielded excellent thermal stability withstanding temperatures up to 450 °C, thus supporting the development of autoclavable and recyclable membranes. This significant and scalable strategy provides opportunities to mass-produce reusable air filters suitable for otherwise complex airborne pollutants, including volatile organic carbons and bio-contaminants, such as viruses.

Nanocrystals from recycled wood waste make carbon-fiber composites tougher

Read the full story from Texas A&M University.

Researchers have used a natural plant product, called cellulose nanocrystals, to pin and coat carbon nanotubes uniformly onto the carbon-fiber composites. The researchers said their prescribed method is quicker than conventional methods and also allows the designing of carbon-fiber composites from the nanoscale.

Associated journal article: Shadi Shariatnia, Annuatha V. Kumar, Ozge Kaynan, Amir Asadi. Hybrid Cellulose Nanocrystal-Bonded Carbon Nanotubes/Carbon Fiber Polymer Composites for Structural ApplicationsACS Applied Nano Materials, 2020; 3 (6): 5421 DOI: 10.1021/acsanm.0c00785

NSF awards $20M to Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology

Read the full story from the University of Minnesota.

University of Minnesota Twin Cities researchers announced today that they are part of a team of researchers from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology who have received a five-year, $20 million grant from the NSF Division of Chemistry.

The grant will allow continued research on evaluating the molecular-level impact of nanotechnology on the environment and living things. The center was initially funded in 2012.

Fish scales could make wearable electronics more sustainable

Read the full story from the American Chemical Society.

Flexible temporary electronic displays may one day make it possible to sport a glowing tattoo or check a reading, like that of a stopwatch, directly on the skin. In its current form, however, this technology generally depends on plastic. New research in ACS Nano describes a way to make these displays, which would likely be discarded after a single use, more environmentally friendly using a plentiful and biodegradable resource: fish scales.

40% of food in America ends up in the trash. Is nanopackaging the answer?

Read the full story at Massive Science.

Consumer habits aren’t enough to curb the impacts of food waste — packaging companies have the opportunity to make a big difference

Nanoparticles may have bigger impact on the environment than previously thought

Read the full story from the University of Minnesota.

In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers have shown that nanoparticles may have a bigger impact on the environment than previously thought.

Sink to River — River to Tap: A Review of Potential Risks from Nanoparticles and Microplastics

Download the document.

The primary objective of this study was to inform the UK and the Irish water companies on the levels of microplastic particles present in raw and treated water, wastewater & treated effluent, and the sludges produced by their treatment works.

The secondary objective was to develop a robust sampling and detection methodology to allow the quantification of microplastic particles at a range of different points within the water environment and the water industry’s infrastructure. It should be noted that prior to this project no standardised methods or reference materials were available.

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