Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Synthetic Clay Could Assist Radioactive Waste Cleanup

Date:
April 12, 2001
Source:
National Science Foundation
Summary:
Researchers from Pennsylvania State University supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) have performed an important step in the drive to remove environmentally harmful materials from waste streams and drinking water.

Researchers from Pennsylvania State University supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) have performed an important step in the drive to remove environmentally harmful materials from waste streams and drinking water.

A team led by Sridhar Komarneni, professor of clay mineralogy demonstrated that a synthetic clay known as a swelling mica has the ability to separate ions of radium, a radioactive metal, from water. The scientists report their results in the April 12 issue of Nature.

The finding could have implications for radioactive and hazardous waste disposal, particularly in the cleanup of mill tailings left over from the processing of uranium for the nation's nuclear industry. The tailings contain radium and heavy metals that can leach into groundwater and contaminate drinking water supplies.

"This result represents significant progress in developing new ion-separation materials," said Thomas Chapman, manager of NSF's program for separations and purification processes, which funded the research. "With more development, the swelling micas should prove useful in both waste remediation and metals recovery."

The swelling mica tested by Komarneni's team, known as Na-4, is one of a group of clays not found in the natural environment. Created specifically for water treatment purposes, swelling micas expand as they absorb metal ions and then, reaching their capacity, collapse and seal the contaminants inside. The swelling micas are being explored for potential use in separating ions of heavy metals such as lead, zinc and copper as well as other radioactive materials, including strontium, from waste streams. Because they trap the ions, the micas can permanently immobilize the pollutants. They could prove useful for the recovery and recycling of valuable metals as well.

Komarneni has used x-ray diffraction and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to evaluate the chemical properties of this new class of materials. One of his goals is to determine whether they have a larger capacity for metal uptake than currently available materials. In this recent experiment, he succeeded in synthesizing Na-4 into a fine powder more useful for practical applications than the large crystals previously synthesized.

The research was performed at Penn State's Materials Research Laboratory and Department of Agronomy.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Science Foundation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Science Foundation. "Synthetic Clay Could Assist Radioactive Waste Cleanup." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 April 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/04/010412081313.htm>.
National Science Foundation. (2001, April 12). Synthetic Clay Could Assist Radioactive Waste Cleanup. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/04/010412081313.htm
National Science Foundation. "Synthetic Clay Could Assist Radioactive Waste Cleanup." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/04/010412081313.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Hundreds of Thousands Hit NYC Streets to Protest Climate Change

Hundreds of Thousands Hit NYC Streets to Protest Climate Change

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) Celebrities, political leaders and the masses rallied in New York and across the globe demanding urgent action on climate change, with organizers saying 600,000 people hit the streets. Duration: 01:19 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Inside London's Massive Sewer Tunnel Project

Inside London's Massive Sewer Tunnel Project

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Billions of dollars are being spent on a massive super sewer to take away London's vast output of waste, which is endangering the River Thames. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Washed-Up 'Alien Hairballs' Are Actually Algae

Washed-Up 'Alien Hairballs' Are Actually Algae

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) Green balls of algae washed up on Sydney, Australia's Dee Why Beach. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Was The Biggest Climate March In History Underreported?

Was The Biggest Climate March In History Underreported?

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) The People's Climate March in New York City drew more than 300,000 people, possibly a record-breaking number. Was the march underreported? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins