Raleigh NC (SPX) Apr 14, 2011
A combination of forest byproducts and crustacean shells may be the key to removing radioactive materials from drinking water, researchers from North Carolina State University have found.
"As we're currently seeing in Japan, one of the major health risks posed by nuclear accidents is radioactive iodide that dissolves into drinking water. Because it is chemically identical to non-radioactive iodide, the human body cannot distinguish it - which is what allows it to accumulate in the thyroid and eventually lead to cancer," says Dr. Joel Pawlak, associate professor of forest biomaterials.
"The material that we've developed binds iodide in water and traps it, which can then be properly disposed of without risk to humans or the environment."
The new material - a combination of hemicellulose, a byproduct of forest materials, and chitosan, crustacean shells that have been crushed into a powder - not only absorbs water, but can actually extract contaminates, such as radioactive iodide, from the water itself.
This material, which forms a solid foam, has applications beyond radioactive materials. Pawlak and fellow researchers found that it has the ability to remove heavy metals - such as arsenic - from water or salt from sea water to make clean drinking water.
"In disaster situations with limited-to-no power source, desalinating drinking water is difficult, if not impossible. This foam could be brought along in such situations to clean the water without the need for electricity," Pawlak says.
"This material could completely change the way we safeguard the world's drinking water supply."
The foam, which is coated on wood fibers, is used like a sponge that is immersed in water. For smaller-scale applications, the foam could be used in something like a tea bag. Or on a larger scale, water could be poured through it like a filter.
Pawlak worked with NC State professor Dr. Richard Venditti on the research, which was funded by the Consortium for Plant Biotechnology Research, the N.C. Forestry Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy. Additional research into how the material can be used on a larger scale is currently being conducted.
Share This Article With Planet Earth
North Carolina State University
Space Technology News - Applications and Research
WHO eyes 20 year nuclear health watch in Japan
Geneva (AFP) April 13, 2011
The World Health Organisation is seeking studies for up to 20 years to keep watch over public health in Japan following the Fukushima nuclear emergency, a senior official said on Wednesday. WHO environmental health chief Maria Neira played down a current risk to public health outside the 30-kilometre exclusion zone around the Fukushima Daiichi plant, based on tests and monitoring by Japanese ... read more
Material Devloped To Remove Radioactive Contaminants From Drinking Water|
Store blood cells from Fukushima workers - Lancet letter
Using Carbon Fiber To Reinforce Buildings And Protect From Explosions
Better Lasers For Optical Communications
Preparations Underway As US Army Gears Up For Large-Scale Network Evaluations
Global Military Communications Market In 2010
Raytheon BBN Technologies To Protect Internet Comms For Military Abroad
Gilat Announces New Military Modem For Robust Tactical Satcom-On-The-Move
Arianespace Flight VA201: Interruption Of The Countdown
PSLV Launch On April 20
Russia Looks To Grab Half Of World Space Launch Market
Mitsubishi Electric's ST-2 Satellite Arrives In French Guiana
China Maps The World With Beidou
China launches navigation satellite
GPS to protect Bulgarian locomotives from fuel thefts
Make Your Satnav Idea A Reality
Ceramic Coatings May Protect Jet Engines From Volcanic Ash
Airline readiness for volcanic ash clouds tested
S. Korea preferred bid for Indonesian jet contract
Chinese airlines sign deal to buy 35 Embraer jets
ASML quarterly profits soar, record year expected
Motorola Solutions, Huawei settle IP dispute
Technique For Letting Brain Talk To Computers Now Tunes In Speech
Japan's stalled chip sector 'to cost $470bn'
Arctic Ice Gets A Check Up
Joint Polar Satellite System Program And The US Budget
Pulling Back The Sheets
Arctic Ozone Loss
Probe blames tired sailor for Barrier Reef crash
India court hears call for harsher Bhopal sentences
High Levels Of Toxic Compounds Found On Coasts Of West Africa
Italy seizes five container loads of garbage bound for China
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|