Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

Nanotube 'sponge' has potential in oil spill cleanup

May 11, 2012
A carbon nanotube sponge that can soak up oil in water with unparalleled efficiency has been developed with help from computational simulations performed at the Department of Energy's (DOE's) Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Carbon nanotubes, which consist of atom-thick sheets of carbon rolled into cylinders, have captured scientific attention in recent decades because of their high strength, potential high conductivity and light weight. But producing nanotubes in bulk for specialized applications was often limited by difficulties in controlling the growth process as well as dispersing and sorting the produced nanotubes.

ORNL's Bobby Sumpter was part of a multi-institutional research team that set out to grow large clumps of nanotubes by selectively substituting boron atoms into the otherwise pure carbon lattice. Sumpter and Vincent Meunier, now of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, conducted simulations on supercomputers, including Jaguar at ORNL's Leadership Computing Facility, to understand how the addition of boron would affect the carbon nanotube structure.

"Any time you put a different atom inside the hexagonal carbon lattice, which is a chicken wire-like network, you disrupt that network because those atoms don't necessarily want to be part of the chicken wire structure," Sumpter said. "Boron has a different number of valence electrons, which results in curvature changes that trigger a different type of growth."

Simulations and lab experiments showed that the addition of boron atoms encouraged the formation of so-called "elbow" junctions that help the nanotubes grow into a 3-D network. The team's results are published in Nature Scientific Reports.

"Instead of a forest of straight tubes, you create an interconnected, woven sponge-like material," Sumpter said. "Because it is interconnected, it becomes three-dimensionally strong, instead of only one-dimensionally strong along the tube axis."

Further experiments showed the team's material, which is visible to the human eye, is extremely efficient at absorbing oil in contaminated seawater because it attracts oil and repels water.

"It loves carbon because it is primarily carbon," Sumpter said. "Depending on the density of oil to water content and the density of the sponge network, it will absorb up to 100 times its weight in oil."

The material's mechanical flexibility, magnetic properties, and strength lend it additional appeal as a potential technology to aid in oil spill cleanup, Sumpter says.

"You can reuse the material over and over again because it's so robust," he said. "Burning it does not substantially decrease its ability to absorb oil, and squeezing it like a sponge doesn't damage it either."

The material's magnetic properties, caused by the team's use of an iron catalyst during the nanotube growth process, means it can be easily controlled or removed with a magnet in an oil cleanup scenario. This ability is an improvement over existing substances used in oil removal, which are often left behind after cleanup and can degrade the environment.

The experimental team has submitted a patent application on the technology through Rice University. The research is published as "Covalently bonded three-dimensional carbon nanotube solids via boron induced nanojunctions," and is available online here: http://www.nature.com/srep/2012/120413/srep00363/full/srep00363.html.

The research team included researchers from ORNL, Rice University; Universidade de Vigo, Spain; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Instituto de Microelectronica de Madrid, Spain; Air Force Office of Scientific Research Laboratory; Arizona State University; Universite Catholique de Louvain, Belgium; The Pennsylvania State University; and Shinshu University, Japan.

The work was supported by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, and by the DOE Office of Science through ORNL's Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS) and the laboratory's Leadership Computing Facility.

CNMS is one of the five DOE Nanoscale Science Research Centers supported by the DOE Office of Science, premier national user facilities for interdisciplinary research at the nanoscale. Together the NSRCs comprise a suite of complementary facilities that provide researchers with state-of-the-art capabilities to fabricate, process, characterize and model nanoscale materials, and constitute the largest infrastructure investment of the National Nanotechnology Initiative. The NSRCs are located at DOE's Argonne, Brookhaven, Lawrence Berkeley, Oak Ridge and Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories. For more information about the DOE NSRCs, please visit http://science.energy.gov/bes/suf/user-facilities/nanoscale-science-research-centers/.

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy's Office of Science. DOE's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit http://science.energy.gov

Oak Ridge National Laboratory


Related Carbon Nanotube Current Events and Carbon Nanotube News Articles


Scientists Develop Force Sensor from Carbon Nanotubes
A group of researchers from Russia, Belarus and Spain, including MIPT professor Yury Lozovik, have developed a microscopic force sensor based on carbon nanotubes. The device is described in an article published in the journal Computational Materials Science and is also available as a preprint.

Charging Portable Electronics in 10 Minutes
Researchers at the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering have developed a three-dimensional, silicon-decorated, cone-shaped carbon-nanotube cluster architecture for lithium ion battery anodes that could enable charging of portable electronics in 10 minutes, instead of hours.

Improvements in MRIs, other image-detection applications on the horizon
Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories, along with collaborators from Rice University and the Tokyo Institute of Technology, are developing new terahertz detectors based on carbon nanotubes that could lead to significant improvements in medical imaging, airport passenger screening, food inspection and other applications.

Improved Supercapacitors for Super Batteries, Electric Vehicles
Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have developed a novel nanometer scale ruthenium oxide anchored nanocarbon graphene foam architecture that improves the performance of supercapacitors, a development that could mean faster acceleration in electric vehicles and longer battery life in portable electronics.

Carbon nanotubes grow in combustion flames
Professor Stephan Irle of the Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules (WPI-ITbM) at Nagoya University and co-workers at Kyoto University, Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL), and Chinese research institutions have revealed through theoretical simulations that the molecular mechanism of carbon nanotube (CNT) growth and hydrocarbon combustion actually share many similarities.

Molecular Traffic Jam Makes Water Move Faster through Nanochannels
Cars inch forward slowly in traffic jams, but molecules, when jammed up, can move extremely fast.

Cooling Microprocessors with Carbon Nanotubes
"Cool it!" That's a prime directive for microprocessor chips and a promising new solution to meeting this imperative is in the offing. Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a "process friendly" technique that would enable the cooling of microprocessor chips through carbon nanotubes.

Layered security: Carbon nanotubes promise improved flame-resistant coating
Using an approach akin to assembling a club sandwich at the nanoscale, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) researchers have succeeded in crafting a uniform, multi-walled carbon-nanotube-based coating that greatly reduces the flammability of foam commonly used in upholstered furniture and other soft furnishings.

Scientists scale terahertz peaks in nanotubes
Carbon nanotubes carry plasmonic signals in the terahertz range of the electromagnetic spectrum, but only if they're metallic by nature or doped.

Taking a New Look at Carbon Nanotubes
Despite their almost incomprehensibly small size - a diameter about one ten-thousandth the thickness of a human hair - single-walled carbon nanotubes come in a plethora of different "species," each with its own structure and unique combination of electronic and optical properties.
More Carbon Nanotube Current Events and Carbon Nanotube News Articles

Carbon Nanotube and Graphene Device Physics

Carbon Nanotube and Graphene Device Physics
by H.-S. Philip Wong (Author), Deji Akinwande (Author)


Explaining the properties and performance of practical nanotube devices and related applications, this is the first introductory textbook on the subject. All the fundamental concepts are introduced, so that readers without an advanced scientific background can follow all the major ideas and results. Additional topics covered include nanotube transistors and interconnects, and the basic physics of graphene. Problem sets at the end of every chapter allow readers to test their knowledge of the material covered and gain a greater understanding of the analytical skill sets developed in the text. This is an ideal textbook for senior undergraduate and graduate students taking courses in semiconductor device physics and nanoelectronics. It is also a perfect self-study guide for professional...

Carbon Nanotube Science: Synthesis, Properties and Applications

Carbon Nanotube Science: Synthesis, Properties and Applications
by Peter J. F. Harris (Author)


Carbon nanotubes represent one of the most exciting research areas in modern science. These molecular-scale carbon tubes are the stiffest and strongest fibres known, with remarkable electronic properties, and potential applications in a wide range of fields. Carbon Nanotube Science is the most concise, accessible book for the field, presenting the basic knowledge that graduates and researchers need to know. Based on the successful Carbon Nanotubes and Related Structures, this new book focuses solely on carbon nanotubes, covering the major advances made in recent years in this rapidly developing field. Chapters focus on electronic properties, chemical and bimolecular functionalisation, nanotube composites and nanotube-based probes and sensors. The book begins with a comprehensive...

Carbon Nanotube Electronics (Integrated Circuits and Systems)

Carbon Nanotube Electronics (Integrated Circuits and Systems)
by Ali Javey (Editor), Jing Kong (Editor)


This book provides a complete overview of the field of carbon nanotube electronics. It covers materials and physical properties, synthesis and fabrication processes, devices and circuits, modeling, and finally novel applications of nanotube-based electronics. The book introduces fundamental device physics and circuit concepts of 1-D electronics. At the same time it provides specific examples of the state-of-the-art nanotube devices.

Carbon Nanotubes: Synthesis, Structure, Properties and Applications

Carbon Nanotubes: Synthesis, Structure, Properties and Applications
by Mildred S. Dresselhaus (Editor), Gene Dresselhaus (Editor), Phaedon Avouris (Editor), R.E. Smalley (Editor)


After a short introduction and a brief review of the relation between carbon nanotubes, graphite and other forms of carbon, the synthesis techniques and growth mechanisms for carbon nanotubes are described. This is followed by reviews on nanotube electronic structure, electrical, optical, and mechanical properties, nanotube imaging and spectroscopy, and nanotube applications.

Carbon Nanotubes: Synthesis, Structure, Properties, and Applications (Topics in Applied Physics)

Carbon Nanotubes: Synthesis, Structure, Properties, and Applications (Topics in Applied Physics)
by Mildred S. Dresselhaus (Editor), Gene Dresselhaus (Editor), Phaedon Avouris (Editor), R.E. Smalley (Editor)


After a short introduction and a brief review of the relation between carbon nanotubes, graphite and other forms of carbon, the synthesis techniques and growth mechanisms for carbon nanotubes are described. This is followed by reviews on nanotube electronic structure, electrical, optical, and mechanical properties, nanotube imaging and spectroscopy, and nanotube applications.

Carbon Nanotubes: Advanced Topics in the Synthesis, Structure, Properties and Applications (Topics in Applied Physics)

Carbon Nanotubes: Advanced Topics in the Synthesis, Structure, Properties and Applications (Topics in Applied Physics)
by Ado Jorio (Editor), Gene Dresselhaus (Editor), Mildred S. Dresselhaus (Editor)


Building on the success of its predecessor, Carbon Nanotubes: Synthesis, Structure, Properties and Applications, this second volume focuses on those areas that have grown rapidly in the past few years. Contributing authors reflect the multidisciplinary nature of the book and are all leaders in their particular areas of research. Among the many topics they cover are graphene and other carbon-like and tube-like materials, which are likely to affect and influence developments in nanotubes within the next five years. Extensive use of illustrations enables you to better understand and visualize key concepts and processes.

Carbon Nanotube-Polymer Composites: Manufacture, Properties, and Applications

Carbon Nanotube-Polymer Composites: Manufacture, Properties, and Applications
by Brian P. Grady (Author)


The accessible compendium of polymers in carbon nanotubes (CNTs)Carbon nanotubes (CNTs)—extremely thin tubes only a few nanometers in diameter but able to attain lengths thousands of times greater—are prime candidates for use in the development of polymer composite materials. Bringing together thousands of disparate research works, Carbon Nanotube-Polymer Composites: Manufacture, Properties, and Applications covers CNT-polymers from synthesis to potential applications, presenting the basic science and engineering of this dynamic and complex area in an accessible, readable way.Designed to be of use to polymer scientists, engineers, chemists, physicists, and materials scientists, the book covers carbon nanotube fundamentals to help polymer experts understand CNTs, and polymer physics to...

Carbon Nanotubes: Methods and Protocols (Methods in Molecular Biology)

Carbon Nanotubes: Methods and Protocols (Methods in Molecular Biology)
by Kannan Balasubramanian (Editor), Marko Burghard (Editor)


Due to their rare combination of high chemical stability, exceptional optical and electrical properties, high surface-to-volume ratio, and high aspect ratio, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have made an enormous impact on materials science, molecular biology, biomedicine, and bioanalytical chemistry. Carbon Nanotubes: Methods and Protocols provides reliable, consistent protocols on the application of CNTs in molecular biology-related fields. These are of vital importance, as the commercially available CNTs differ in purity, agglomeration state, as well as length and diameter distribution, all of which have a profound influence on the dispersability and surface properties of the tubes. The volume contains detailed sections on functionalization, toxicity, trafficking, scaffolds, and biosensors,...

Carbon Nanotube Enhanced Aerospace Composite Materials: A New Generation of Multifunctional Hybrid Structural Composites (Solid Mechanics and Its Applications)

Carbon Nanotube Enhanced Aerospace Composite Materials: A New Generation of Multifunctional Hybrid Structural Composites (Solid Mechanics and Its Applications)
by A. Paipetis (Editor), V. Kostopoulos (Editor)


The well documented increase in the use of high performance composites as structural materials in aerospace components is continuously raising the demands in terms of dynamic performance, structural integrity, reliable life monitoring systems and adaptive actuating abilities. Current technologies address the above issues separately; material property tailoring and custom design practices aim to the enhancement of dynamic and damage tolerance characteristics, whereas life monitoring and actuation is performed with embedded sensors that may be detrimental to the structural integrity of the component. This publication explores the unique properties of carbon nanotubes (CNT) as an additive in the matrix of Fibre Reinforced Plastics (FRP), for producing structural composites with improved...

Carbon Nanotubes and Related Structures: Synthesis, Characterization, Functionalization, and Applications

Carbon Nanotubes and Related Structures: Synthesis, Characterization, Functionalization, and Applications
by Dirk M. Guldi (Editor), Nazario Martín (Editor)


Written by the most prominent experts and pioneers in the field, this ready reference combines fundamental research, recent breakthroughs and real-life applications in one well-organized treatise.
As such, both newcomers and established researchers will find here a wide range of current methods for producing and characterizing carbon nanotubes using imaging as well as spectroscopic techniques. One major part of this thorough overview is devoted to the controlled chemical functionalization of carbon nanotubes, covering intriguing applications in photovoltaics, organic electronics and materials design. The latest research on novel carbon-derived structures, such as graphene, nanoonions and carbon pea pods, round off the book.


© 2014 BrightSurf.com