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


Nature Photonics: Light source for quicker computer chips
Worldwide growing data volumes make conventional electronic processing reach its limits.

Unraveling truly one-dimensional carbon solids
Even in its elemental form, the high bond versatility of carbon allows for many different well-known materials, including diamond and graphite.

UTA researchers devise more efficient materials for solar fuel cells
University of Texas at Arlington chemists have developed new high-performing materials for cells that harness sunlight to split carbon dioxide and water into useable fuels like methanol and hydrogen gas.

Nano-coating makes coaxial cables lighter
Common coaxial cables could be made 50 percent lighter with a new nanotube-based outer conductor developed by Rice University scientists.

New process enables easier isolation of carbon nanotubes
Manufacture of longer, thinner, and uncontaminated carbon nanotubes, and successfully isolating them, have been ongoing challenges for researchers. A newly developed method has opened up new possibilities in carbon nanotube development.

Researchers develop nanoscale probes for ssDNA sustainability under UV radiation
DNA, which stores genetic information in the majority of organisms on Earth, is not easily destroyed. It readily absorbs ultraviolet (UV) radiation, but finds ways to recover.

Emerging technologies help advance the understanding, detection and control of epilepsy
A smartphone-induced EEG waveform and an intelligent algorithm for seizure detection are among the emerging technologies to be unveiled at the American Epilepsy Society's (AES) 69th Annual Meeting.

Making green fuels, no fossils required
Using solar or wind power to produce carbon-based fuels, which are commonly called fossil fuels, might seem like a self-defeating approach to making a greener world.

Realizing carbon nanotube integrated circuits
Individual transistors made from carbon nanotubes are faster and more energy efficient than those made from other materials. Going from a single transistor to an integrated circuit full of transistors, however, is a giant leap.

UT Dallas nanotechnology research leads to super-elastic conducting fibers
An international research team based at The University of Texas at Dallas has made electrically conducting fibers that can be reversibly stretched to over 14 times their initial length and whose electrical conductivity increases 200-fold when stretched.
More Carbon Nanotube Current Events and Carbon Nanotube News Articles

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 Nanotubes: Theoretical Concepts and Research Strategies for Engineers

Carbon Nanotubes: Theoretical Concepts and Research Strategies for Engineers
by A. K. Haghi (Author), Sabu Thomas (Author)


This book presents the diversity of recent advances in carbon nanotubes from a broad perspective that will be useful for scientists as well as for graduate students and engineers. Presenting leading-edge research in this dynamic field, this volume is an introduction to the physical concepts needed for investigating carbon nanotubes and other one-dimensional solid-state systems. Written for a wide scientific readership, each chapter consists of an instructive approach to the topic and sustainable ideas for solutions. Carbon nanotubes, with their extraordinary mechanical and unique electronic properties, have garnered much attention in recent years. With a broad range of potential applications, including nanoelectronics, composites, chemical sensors, biosensors, microscopy,...

Physical Properties of Carbon Nanotubes

Physical Properties of Carbon Nanotubes
by Riichiro Saito (Author), R Saito (Editor), M S Dresselhaus (Editor), G Dresselhaus (Editor)


This is an introductory textbook for graduate students and researchers from various fields of science who wish to learn about carbon nanotubes. The field is still at an early stage, and progress continues at a rapid rate. This book focuses on the basic principles behind the physical properties and gives the background necessary to understand the recent developments. Some useful computational source codes which generate coordinates for carbon nanotubes are also included in the appendix.

Carbon Nanotubes: Properties and Applications

Carbon Nanotubes: Properties and Applications
by Michael J. O'Connell (Author)


Since their discovery more than a decade ago, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have held scientists and engineers in captive fascination, seated on the verge of enormous breakthroughs in areas such as medicine, electronics, and materials science, to name but a few. Taking a broad look at CNTs and the tools used to study them, Carbon Nanotubes: Properties and Applications comprises the efforts of leading nanotube researchers led by Michael O’Connell, protégé of the late father of nanotechnology, Richard Smalley. Each chapter is a self-contained treatise on various aspects of CNT synthesis, characterization, modification, and applications. The book opens with a general introduction to the basic characteristics and the history of CNTs, followed by discussions on synthesis methods and the...

Carbon Nanotubes and Related Structures: New Materials for the Twenty-first Century

Carbon Nanotubes and Related Structures: New Materials for the Twenty-first Century
by Peter J. F. Harris (Author)


Carbon nanotubes are molecular-scale carbon fibers with structures related to those of the fullerenes. Since their discovery in 1991, they have captured the imagination of physicists, chemists and materials scientists alike. This book covers all the most important areas of nanotube research, as well as discussing related structures such as carbon nanoparticles and "inorganic fullerenes." It is the first single-author book on the subject and will be of interest to chemists, physicists, materials scientists, and engineers working on carbon materials and fullerenes in both academia and industry.

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 Nanotubes: Science and Applications

Carbon Nanotubes: Science and Applications
by M. Meyyappan (Editor)


Carbon nanotubes, with their extraordinary mechanical and unique electronic properties, have garnered much attention in the past five years. With a broad range of potential applications including nanoelectronics, composites, chemical sensors, biosensors, microscopy, nanoelectromechanical systems, and many more, the scientific community is more motivated than ever to move beyond basic properties and explore the real issues associated with carbon nanotube-based applications.

Taking a comprehensive look at this diverse and dynamic subject, Carbon Nanotubes: Science and Applications describes the field's various aspects, including properties, growth, and processing techniques, while focusing on individual major application areas. Well-known authors who practice the craft of carbon...

Carbon Nanotubes for Interconnects: Process, Design and Applications

Carbon Nanotubes for Interconnects: Process, Design and Applications
by Aida Todri-Sanial (Editor), Jean Dijon (Editor), Antonio Maffucci (Editor)


This book provides a single-source reference on the use of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) as interconnect material for horizontal, on-chip and 3D interconnects. The authors demonstrate the uses of bundles of CNTs, as innovative conducting material to fabricate interconnect through-silicon vias (TSVs), in order to improve the performance, reliability and integration of 3D integrated circuits (ICs). This book will be first to provide a coherent overview of exploiting carbon nanotubes for 3D interconnects covering aspects from processing, modeling, simulation, characterization and applications. Coverage also includes a thorough presentation of the application of CNTs as horizontal on-chip interconnects which can potentially revolutionize the nanoelectronics industry. This book is a must-read for...

Carbon Nanotubes for Polymer Reinforcement

Carbon Nanotubes for Polymer Reinforcement
by Peng-Cheng Ma (Author), Jang-Kyo Kim (Author)


Discovered in the twentieth century, carbon nanotubes (CNT) were an integral part of science and industry by the beginning of the twenty first century, revolutionizing chemistry, physics, and materials science. More recent advances in carbon nanotube production methods have resulted in a tremendous push to incorporate CNTs into polymer matrices. Although many advances have been made, two major obstacles continue unresolved: the enhancement of interfacial adhesion between CNTs and polymer matrix, and the improvement of dispersion of CNTs in polymers. Both substantial original contributors to the field, the authors present Carbon Nanotubes for Polymer Reinforcement, the first monograph on various conventional and innovative techniques to disperse and functionalize carbon nanotubes for...

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...

© 2016 BrightSurf.com