Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Turning plastic bags into high-tech materials

Date:
September 25, 2013
Source:
University of Adelaide
Summary:
Researchers have developed a process for turning waste plastic bags into a high-tech nanomaterial. The innovative nanotechnology uses non-biodegradable plastic grocery bags to make 'carbon nanotube membranes' -- highly sophisticated and expensive materials with a variety of potential advanced applications including filtration, sensing, energy storage and a range of biomedical innovations.

University of Adelaide researchers have developed a process for turning waste plastic bags into a high-tech nanomaterial.
Credit: Copyright Michele Hogan

University of Adelaide researchers have developed a process for turning waste plastic bags into a high-tech nanomaterial.

Related Articles


The innovative nanotechnology uses non-biodegradable plastic grocery bags to make 'carbon nanotube membranes' -- highly sophisticated and expensive materials with a variety of potential advanced applications including filtration, sensing, energy storage and a range of biomedical innovations.

"Non-biodegradable plastic bags are a serious menace to natural ecosystems and present a problem in terms of disposal," says Professor Dusan Losic, ARC Future Fellow and Research Professor of Nanotechnology in the University's School of Chemical Engineering.

"Transforming these waste materials through 'nanotechnological recycling' provides a potential solution for minimizing environmental pollution at the same time as producing high-added value products."

Carbon nanotubes are tiny cylinders of carbon atoms, one nanometer in diameter (1/10,000 the diameter of a human hair). They are the strongest and stiffest materials yet discovered -- hundreds of times stronger than steel but six times lighter -- and their unique mechanical, electrical, thermal and transport properties present exciting opportunities for research and development. They are already used in a variety of industries including in electronics, sports equipment, long-lasting batteries, sensing devices and wind turbines.

The University of Adelaide's Nanotech Research Group has 'grown' the carbon nanotubes onto nanoporous alumina membranes. They used pieces of grocery plastic bags which were vaporized in a furnace to produce carbon layers that line the pores in the membrane to make the tiny cylinders (the carbon nanotubes). The idea was conceived and carried out by PhD student Tariq Altalhi.

"Initially we used ethanol to produce the carbon nanotubes," says Professor Losic. "But my student had the idea that any carbon source should be useable."

The huge potential market for carbon nanotubes hinges on industry's ability to produce large quantities more cheaply and uniformly. Current synthesis methods usually involve complex processes and equipment, and most companies on the market measure production output in only several grams per day.

"In our laboratory, we've developed a new and simplified method of fabrication with controllable dimensions and shapes, and using a waste product as the carbon source," says Professor Losic.

The process is also catalyst and solvent free, which means the plastic waste can be used without generating poisonous compounds.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Adelaide. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Tariq Altalhi, Tushar Kumeria, Abel Santos, Dusan Losic. Synthesis of well-organised carbon nanotube membranes from non-degradable plastic bags with tuneable molecular transport: Towards nanotechnological recycling. Carbon, 2013; 63: 423 DOI: 10.1016/j.carbon.2013.07.003

Cite This Page:

University of Adelaide. "Turning plastic bags into high-tech materials." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130925102651.htm>.
University of Adelaide. (2013, September 25). Turning plastic bags into high-tech materials. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 2, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130925102651.htm
University of Adelaide. "Turning plastic bags into high-tech materials." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130925102651.htm (accessed March 2, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Monday, March 2, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

HTC And Valve Team Up For Virtual Reality Headset

HTC And Valve Team Up For Virtual Reality Headset

Newsy (Mar. 1, 2015) HTC unveiled Vive, its new virtual reality headset, Sunday. The device is supported by gaming company Valve, which has made a push into the market. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rehab Robot Helps Restore Damaged Muscles and Nerves

Rehab Robot Helps Restore Damaged Muscles and Nerves

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 1, 2015) A rehabilitation robot prototype to help restore deteriorated nerves and muscles using electromyography and computer games. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Elon Musk's Hyperloop Moves Forward

Elon Musk's Hyperloop Moves Forward

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) Zipping around at 800-miles an hour is coming closer to reality in California. An entire town is being built around Elon Musk&apos;s Hyperloop concept and it wants you to stop in for a ride when it&apos;s ready. Brett Larson is on board. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Vibrating Bicycle Senses Traffic

Vibrating Bicycle Senses Traffic

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Feb. 26, 2015) Dutch scientists have developed a smart bicycle that uses sensors, wireless technology and video to warn riders of traffic dangers. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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