Researchers at Texas Tech University have come up with a new method for detecting CNTs in soils, which will help determine their toxicity. CNTs are so small that mean outer diameters of 13nm to 16nm are common in multi-walled tubes, shown here as grains partially smeared on paper (scale in centimeters). (Source: Shaddack/Wikimedia Commons)
Good article explaining the detection method for CNT's in soil. Are there toxicity concerns for CNT's in product? Also, are there concerns with the processing method used to add the CNT's to the base material?
Ann, this is indeed a concern. Like many of the clever solutions to engineering problems, we have to think of the effect on living organisms, not just humans. Semiconductor manufacturing also uses many toxic chemicals, for example, and these have to be controlled. This is true at the point of manufacture and at the point of disposal. I recall that even the ink used in thermal printers, such as those that are used to print receipts at stores, can be toxic. We need to be careful in handling exotic, engineered materials.
One question I do have is about the detection method. Since microwaves are used, I assume that the tests done on earhtworms are destructive. Soil, even after being exposed to microwaves, is still just soil. An earthworm on the other hand...
Oak Ridge National Laboratory has developed a surface preparation method to improve joining carbon composites with aluminum, with potentially far-reaching ramifications for high-volume industrial applications.
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