Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Carbon nanotube sponge shows improved water clean-up

Date:
January 17, 2014
Source:
Institute of Physics
Summary:
A new carbon nanotube sponge capable of soaking up water contaminants, such as fertilizers, pesticides and pharmaceuticals, is more than three times more efficiently than previous efforts.

A carbon nanotube sponge capable of soaking up water contaminants, such as fertilisers, pesticides and pharmaceuticals, more than three times more efficiently than previous efforts has been presented in a new study published today.

The carbon nanotube (CNT) sponges, uniquely doped with sulphur, also demonstrated a high capacity to absorb oil, potentially opening up the possibility of using the material in industrial accidents and oil spill clean-ups.

The results have been published today, 17 January, in IOP Publishing's journal Nanotechnology.

CNTs are hollow cylindrical structures composed of a single sheet of carbon. Owing to their structure, CNTs have extraordinary thermal, chemical and mechanical properties that have led to an array of applications from body armour to solar panels.

They have been touted as excellent candidates for wastewater clean-up; however, problems have arisen when trying to handle the fine powders and eventually retrieve them from the water.

Lead author of the research Luca Camilli, from the University of Roma, said: "It is quite tricky using CNT powders to remove oil spilled in the ocean. They are hard to handle and can eventually get lost or dispersed in the ocean after they are released.

"However, millimetre- or centimetre-scale CNTs, as we've synthesised in this study, are much easier to handle. They float on water because of their porous structure and, once saturated with oil, can be easily removed. By simply squeezing them and releasing the oil, they can then be re-used."

In the new study, the researchers, from the University of Roma, University of Nantes and University of L'Aquila, bulked up the CNTs to the necessary size by adding sulphur during the production process―the resulting sponge had an average length of 20 mm.

The addition of sulphur caused defects to form on the surface of the CNT sponges which then enabled ferrocene, which was also added during the production process, to deposit iron into tiny capsules within the carbon shells.

The presence of iron meant the sponges could be magnetically controlled and driven without any direct contact, easing the existing problem of trying to control CNTs when added onto the water's surface.

The researchers demonstrated how the constructed CNT sponges could successfully remove a toxic organic solvent―dichlorobenzene―from water, showing that it could absorb a mass that was 3.5 times higher than previously achieved.

The CNT sponges were also shown to absorb vegetable oil up to 150 times of its initial weight and absorb engine oil to a slightly higher capacity than previous reported.

"The improved absorption properties of the sponge are down to the porous structure and the rough surface of the CNTs. Oils or solvent can easily be absorbed in the empty spaces amongst the CNTs, which is made easier by the rough surfaces," continued Camilli.

"The next stage of our research is to improve the synthesis process so that the sponges can be produced on a commercial scale. We must also study the toxicity of the sponges before any real-world applications can be realised."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. L Camilli, C Pisani, E Gautron, M Scarselli, P Castrucci, F D’Orazio, M Passacantando, D Moscone, M De Crescenzi. A three-dimensional carbon nanotube network for water treatment. Nanotechnology, 2014; 25 (6): 065701 DOI: 10.1088/0957-4484/25/6/065701

Cite This Page:

Institute of Physics. "Carbon nanotube sponge shows improved water clean-up." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140117090615.htm>.
Institute of Physics. (2014, January 17). Carbon nanotube sponge shows improved water clean-up. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140117090615.htm
Institute of Physics. "Carbon nanotube sponge shows improved water clean-up." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140117090615.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Operators of recreational businesses on western reservoirs worry that ongoing drought concerns will keep boaters and other visitors from flocking to the popular summer attractions. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ark. Man Finds 6-Carat Diamond At State Park

Ark. Man Finds 6-Carat Diamond At State Park

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) An Arkansas man has found a nearly 6.2-carat diamond, which he dubbed "The Limitless Diamond," at the Crater of Diamonds State Park. 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