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 November 23, 2014 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 November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Microsoft Adds Robot Guards, Ushers In Sci-Fi Apocalypse

Microsoft Adds Robot Guards, Ushers In Sci-Fi Apocalypse

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Microsoft has robotic security guards working at its Silicon Valley Campus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Toyota presented its hydrogen fuel-cell compact car called "Mirai" to US consumers at the Los Angeles auto show. The car should go on sale in 2015 for around $60.000. It combines stored hydrogen with oxygen to generate its own power. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) In a blog post, Google said its balloons have traveled 3 million kilometers since the start of Project Loon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

AP (Nov. 21, 2014) Marine Corps officials say a special operations officer left paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan walked using robotic leg braces in a ceremony to award him a Bronze Star. (Nov. 21) Video provided by AP
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