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Overview

An authoritative, in-depth exploration of the environmental consequences of nanotechnology

Nanotechnology is revolutionizing the chemical, telecom, biotech, pharmaceutical, health care, aerospace, and computer industries, among others, and many exciting new nanotech applications are envisioned for the near future. While the rapid pace of innovation has been truly inspiring, much remains to be learned about the potential environmental and health risks posed by this nascent technology and its byproducts. So important is this issue that the ultimate success or failure of nanotechnology may well depend on how effectively science and industry address these concerns in the years ahead.

Written by two highly accomplished environmental professionals, Nanotechnology: Environmental Implications and Solutions brings scientists, engineers, and policymakers up to speed on the current state of knowledge in this vitally important area. Professor Theodore and Dr. Kunz provide a concise review of nano-fundamentals and explore background issues surrounding nanotechnology and its environmental impact. They then follow up with in-depth discussions of:
* The control, monitoring, and reduction of nanotech byproducts and their impact on the air, water, and land
* Health risks associated with nanotechnology, and methods to assess and control them
* Nanotech hazard risk assessment-including emergency response planning and personnel training
* Multimedia approaches that are available for the analysis of the impact of nanotechnology in the chemical, manufacturing, and waste disposal industries
* The future of nanotechnology and the "Industrial Revolution II"
* The legal implications of nanotechnology
* Societal and ethical implications of nanotechnology-based materials and processing method

Assuming only a basic knowledge of physics, chemistry, and mathematics on behalf of its readers, Nanotechnology: Environmental Implications and Solutions makes fascinating and useful reading for engineers, scientists, administrators, environmental regulatory officials, and public policy makers, as well as students in a range of science and engineering disciplines.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The reference section is extensive, spanning a wide range of subjects." (Journal of Industrial Ecology, 2008)

"…will help the determined reader grasp many of the implications, challenges, and opportunities presented by the management of nanotechnology materials." (Facilities Manager, March/April 2006)

"…the book covers a wide range of topics regarding past and current management of environmental pollutants…" (Materials and Manufacturing Processes, February 2006)

"Readers…will have a much better idea of the basic principles of how pollutants are managed in current US regulatory framework." (CHOICE, October 2005)

"…a thorough over view of existing environmental regulations." (Chemical Health & Safety, July/August 2005)

“...a well written and a valuable text for those becoming involved in the new science of nanotechnology.” (Energy Sources, August 2005)

"...well-written and containing useful environmental information." (Journal of Hazardous Materials, September 2005)

"...an excellent summary of traditional environmental pollution issues." (Environmental Health Perspectives, July 2005)

"...people who work in the realm of nanotechnology may welcome this book's consolidated presentation of today's environmental policies and procedures." (Small Times, May/June 2005)

"...explores whether current environmental and safety-related technologies are sufficient to handle the known and as-yet-unforeseen hazards and risks associated with the use of nanoscaled materials…" (Chemical Engineering, May 2005)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471699767
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 2/11/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.48 (w) x 9.39 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Meet the Author

LOUIS THEODORE, PhD, is Professor in the Chemical Engineering Department of Manhattan College, in New York City. He has received awards from the International Air and Waste Management Association and the American Society for Engineering Education.

ROBERT G. KUNZ, PhD, is an environmental consultant with three decades of experience in the petroleum and chemical industries. He is the recipient of the Water Pollution Control Federation's Harrison Prescott Eddy Medal.

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Read an Excerpt

Nanotechnology

Environmental Implications and Solutions
By Louis Theodore R. G. Kunz

John Wiley & Sons

Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-471-69976-4


Chapter One

NANOTECHNOLOGY/ ENVIRONMENTAL OVERVIEW

1.1 INTRODUCTION

Nanotechnology is concerned with the world of invisible miniscule particles that are dominated by forces of physics and chemistry that cannot be applied at the macro- or human-scale level. These particles have come to be defined by some as nanomaterials, and these materials possess unusual properties not present in traditional and/or ordinary materials.

Regarding the word nanotechnology, it is derived from the words nano and technology. Nano, typically employed as a prefix, is defined as one billionth of a quantity or term that is represented mathematically as 1 x [10.sup.-9], or simply as [10.sup.-9]. Technology generally refers to "the system by which a society provides its members with those things needed or desired." The term nanotechnology has come to be defined as those systems or processes that provide goods and/or services that are obtained from matter at the nanometer level, that is, from sizes at or below one billionth of a meter. The new technology thus allows the engineering of matter by systems and/or processes that deal with atoms; or as Drexler (whom some view as the godfather of this industry) put it: "... entails the ability to build molecular systems with atom-by-atom precision yielding a variety of nanomachines." One of the major problems that remain is the development of nanomachines that can produce other nanomachines in a manner similar to what many routinely describe as mass production.

The classic laws of science are different at the nanoscale. Nanoparticles possess large surface areas and essentially no inner mass, that is, their surface-to-mass ratio is extremely high. This new "science" is based on the knowledge that particles in the nanometer range, and nanostructures or nanomachines that are developed from these nanoparticles, possess special properties and exhibit unique behavior. These special properties, in conjunction with their unique behavior, can significantly impact physical, chemical, electrical, biological, mechanical, and functional qualities. These new characteristics can be harnessed and exploited by applied scientists to engineer "Industrial Revolution II" processes. Present-day and future applications (to be discussed in more detail in the next section) include chemical products-to be parts, plastics, specialty metals, and powders; computer chips, computer systems, and miscellaneous parts; and pollution prevention areas that can include energy conservation, environmental control, and health/safety issues; plus crime and terrorism concerns. In effect, the sky's the limit regarding efforts in this area, and as far as the environment is concerned, this new technology can terminate pollution as it is known today.

The authors believe that nanotechnology is the second coming of the industrial revolution, or as one of the authors has described it, "Industrial Revolution II." It promises to make that nation (hopefully ours) that seizes the nanotechnology initiative the technology capital of the world. One of the main obstacles to achieving this goal will be to control, reduce, and ultimately eliminate environmental and environmental-related problems associated with this technology; the success or failure of this new use may well depend on the ability to address these environmental issues. Only time will provide answers to three key environmental questions:

1. What are the potential environmental concerns associated with this new technology?

2. Can industries and society expect toxic/hazardous material to be released into the environment during either the manufacture or use of nanoproducts?

3. Could nanoapplications lead to environmental degradation, particularly from bioaccumulation of nanoparticles in living tissue?

Regarding these three questions, it is important to note that the environmental health and hazard risks associated with both nanoparticles and the applications of nanotechnology for industrial uses are at present not fully known. Some early studies indicate that nanoparticles can serve as environmental poisons that accumulate in organs. Although these risks may prove to be either minor, avoidable, or both, the engineer and scientist is duty bound to determine if there are in fact any health, safety, and environmental impacts associated with nanotechnology. These concerns served as the driving force for the writing of this book.

Note that Sections 1.2 to 1.4 discuss nanotechnology while Sections 1.5 to 1.8 address environmental issues.

1.2 SURVEY OF NANOTECHNOLOGY APPLICATIONS

The extreme surface-to-volume ratio of nanoparticles is a key attribute that accounts for their range of superior performance characteristics. As the functional advantages of ultra-small particles continue to be deciphered, and processes are perfected to make and manipulate then, there seems to be no limit to what nanomaterials can do.

Once an academic curiosity, nanotechnology has sweeping implications for many electronic, optical, magnetic, catalytic, and medical-therapeutic applications. Nanomaterials are being used to produce composite materials with improved electroconductivity and catalytic activity, hardness, scratch resistance, and self-cleaning capabilities. And, they are being exploited to improve the performance of gas sensors and other devices, the way drugs reach targets in the human body, and the aesthetic appeal and efficiency of consumer products.

A diverse array of ultra-small-scale materials, including metal oxides, ceramics and polymeric materials, and wide-ranging processing methods including techniques that employ 'self-assembly' on a molecular scale, are either in use today or are being groomed for commercial-scale use.

Examples of nanotechnology in actual commercial use, under serious investigation, or on the verge of commercialization include:

Semiconductor chips and other microelectronics applications

High surface-to-volume catalysts, which promote chemical reactions more efficiently and selectively

Ceramics, lighter-weight alloys, metal oxides, and other metallic compounds

Coatings, paints, plastics, fillers, and food-packaging applications

Polymer-composite materials, including tires, with improved mechanical properties

Transparent composite materials, such as sunscreens containing nanosize titanium dioxide and zinc oxide particles

Use in fuel cells, battery electrodes, communications applications, photographic film developing, and gas sensors

Nanobarcodes

Tips for scanning probe microscopes

Purification of pharmaceuticals and enzymes

Promising medical applications encompass diagnostic and drug delivery systems, including specific targeting of cancer cells. However, these appear to be many years away from commercialization because of lengthy approval procedures by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States and its counterpart agencies overseas.

Other examples, in various stages of development, focused on pollution prevention and treatment are listed below:

Sensing of pollutants, pH, and chemical warfare agents

Ultraviolet light (UV)-activated catalysts for treatment of environmental contaminants

Removal of environmental contaminants from various media, including in situ remediation of pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and chlorinated organic solvents, such as trichloroethylene (TCE)

Posttreatment of contaminated soils, sediments, and solid wastes

Sorption of contaminants for air and water pollution control, in a manner said to be vastly superior to activated carbon

Chelating agents for polymer-supported ultrafiltration

Oil-water separation

Destruction of bacteria (including anthrax)

Purification of drinking water, without the need for chlorination

Further details can be found in the references cited below. The reader is encouraged to stay abreast of the latest developments in this rapidly changing field.

1. Baum, R. M., editor-in-chief, "Biotech and Nanotech," Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), 82(15), 3 (April 12, 2004).

2. Dagani, R., "Nanotech Hoopla," Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), 82(15), 31 (April 12, 2004).

3. Masciangioli, T. and W. Zhang, "Environmental Technologies at the Nanoscale," Environmental Science & Technology, 37(5), 102A-108A (Mar. 1, 2003).

4. Shelley, S., "Carbon Nanotubes: A Small-Scale Wonder," Chemical Engineering, 110(1), 27-29 (Jan. 2003).

5. Various Authors, "Nanotechnology," Chemical Engineering Progress, 99(11), 34S-48S (Nov. 2003).

6. Zhang, W., "Nanoscale Iron Particles for Environmental Remediation: An Overview," Journal of Nanoparticle Research, 5, 323-332 (2003).

In addition to the publications cited above, possible sources of additional information include (1) NanoFocus page of C&EN Online, (2) Small, a Wiley-VCH journal scheduled for start-up on January 2005, and (3) The American Chemical Society's Nano Letters.

It has been reported that market opportunities for nanoparticles as materials are limited; the present real value of the nanos are in their future application. In time, these applications will increase, probably at an exponential rate. Once these opportunities have been identified by the engineer and applied scientist, the appropriate nanotechnology fit will be made. Normally, this will involve successfully engineering the interface between the aforementioned nanoparticles and other materials. In the meantime, there are the areas briefly described above to which industry is currently applying nanoparticles and nanotechnology to realworld applications. Shelley, in an outstanding review article provides additional information on some of the above applications. These are detailed in the next chapter.

Two current and specific nanotechnology projects follow. The first is an industrial application with academic ties. The second involves a government-sponsored project. These are detailed in the following paragraphs.

Project (1): NanoScale Materials, Inc., has developed scaled-up production processes for FAST-ACT (First Applied Sorbent Treatment Against Chemical Threats), an advanced nanoengineered family of products designed to provide first responders, Hazmat teams, and other emergency personnel with a single technology to counteract a variety of chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals. Nontoxic, noncorrosive, and nonflammable, FAST-ACT is particularly useful when response personnel are confronted with a chemical spill whose exact nature is unknown. While substances such as activated carbon only physically absorb toxic substances, FAST-ACT neutralizes, destroys, and renders them harmless. The material's large surface area gives it the ability to capture and destroy toxic chemicals. Just 25 g (a little less than an ounce) has the surface area of almost three football fields. Independent testing by chemical warfare experts showed that FASTACT removed more than 99 percent of such agents as VX, soman, and mustard gas from surfaces in less than 90 s. The initial research that led to FAST-ACT was conducted by the Kansas State University laboratory of Kenneth Klabunde. The National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program supported NanoScale's research to make the production processes commercially viable. This scaling-up required dramatic process changes, development of quality control standards and testing to confirm the safety and efficacy of FAST-ACT.

Project (2): Mercury pollution is widely recognized as a growing risk to both the environment and public health. It is estimated that coal-burning power plants contribute about 48 tons of mercury to the U.S. environment each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that one in eight women have mercury concentrations in their bodies that exceed safety limits. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently reconsidering proposed rules on the release of mercury from coal-burning power plant effluents and may impose greater restrictions. Mercury found in liquid effluents comes from water-based processes the facilities used to scrub, capture, and collect the toxic material.

Scientists at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have developed a novel material that can remove mercury and other toxic substances from coal-burning power plant wastewater. PNNL's synthetic material features a nanoporous ceramic substance with a specifically tailored pore size and a very high surface area. The surface area of one teaspoon of this substance is equivalent to that of a football field. This material has proven to be effective for absorbing mercury. Pore sizes can be tailored for specific tasks. The material relies on technology previously developed at PNNL-self-assembled monolayers on mesoporous support, or SAMMS. SAMMS integrates a nanoporous silica-based substrate with an innovative method for attaching monolayers, or single layers of densely packed molecules that can be designed to attract mercury or other toxic substances. In recent tests at PNNL, a customized version of SAMMS with an affinity of mercury, referred to as thiol-SAMMS, was developed. According to Shas Mattigod, lead chemist at PNNL, test results revealed mercury-absorbing capabilities that surpassed the developers' expectations. After three successive treatments, 99.9 percent of the mercury in the simulated wastewater was captured, reducing levels from 145.8 to 0.04 parts per million (ppm). This is below the EPA's discharge limit of 0.2 ppm. The mercury-laden SAMMS also passed Washington State's dangerous waste regulatory limit of 0.2 ppm, allowing for safe disposal of the test solution directly to the sewer. Tests have shown that the mercury-laden SAMMS also passed EPA requirements for land disposal. This technology may result in huge savings to users who are faced with costly disposal of mercury in the waste stream. It appears that SAMMS technology can be easily adapted to target other toxins such as lead, chromium, and radionuclides.

With regard to economics and finance, the latest reports indicate that worldwide research and development (R&D) spending is now up to approximately $12 billion, with the biggest increases occurring in defense and security projects. Expenditures/ investments also continue to increase in:

1. Information technology

2. Life sciences

3. Food

4. Energy

5. Water

The nanotechnology market is expected to grow by 30 percent annually in this decade. This growth will be further fueled as individuals become more aware of the impact nanotechnology will have on society. Additional details are provided in the next chapter.

1.3 LEGAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR NANOTECHNOLOGY

SECTION AUTHOR: ADRIAN CALDERONE, BChE, ME, J.D.

A new area of technological research and development is rapidly emerging. It is called nanotechnology because it pertains to technology operating at the scale of nanometers. For the present, the full implications of the meaning of the term must remain speculative. Nanotechnology is being introduced into a society with an existing legal framework. Nevertheless, because of the potential of this technology to introduce changes as to what human beings can do and expect in the realm of materials, mechanics, information systems, and biological systems, the legal system may have a difficult time catching up with the vast new potentials. Not the least of the reasons for this difficulty is that technological development begets more technological development. More technological development has occurred in the past 30 years than in the previous century. Twenty years ago it was relatively uncommon for a household to have a personal computer. Now, most households in the United States have personal computers. In the early 1990s the Internet was just becoming popular and there was conflict over its commercialization. Now, even grade-school children communicate over the Internet and "surf the net" for research or amusement.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Nanotechnology by Louis Theodore R. G. Kunz Copyright © 2005 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Preface.

Foreword by Rita D’Aquino.

1 NANOTECHNOLOGY/ENVIRONMENTAL OVERVIEW.

1.1 Introduction.

1.2 Survey of Nanotechnology Applications.

1.3 Legal Considerations for Nanotechnology by A. Calderone.

1.4 Recent Patent Activity.

1.5 Environmental Implications.

1.6 Current Environmental Regulations.

1.7 Classification and Sources of Pollutants.

1.8 Effects of Pollutants.

1.9 Text Contents.

1.10 Summary.

References.

2 NANOTECHNOLOGY: TURNING BASIC SCIENCE INTO REALITY (Suzanne A. Shelley).

2.1 Introduction.

2.2 Basic Chemistry and Size-Related Properties.

2.3 Nanotechnology: Prime Materials and Manufacturing Methods.

2.4 Carbon Nanotubes and Buckyballs.

2.5 Current and Future Market Applications.

2.6 Analytical Methods.

2.7 Health and Safety Issues: Ethical, Legal, and Societal Implications.

2.8 Funding Future Developmental Efforts.

2.9 Summary.

References.

3 AIR ISSUES.

3.1 Introduction.

3.2 Air Pollution Control Equipment.

3.3 Atmospheric Dispersion Modeling.

3.4 Stack Design.

3.5 Indoor Air Quality.

3.6 Monitoring Methods.

3.7 Summary.

References.

4 WATER ISSUES.

4.1 Introduction.

4.2 Industrial Wastewater Management.

4.3 Municipal Wastewater Treatment.

4.4 Dispersion Modeling in Water Systems.

4.5 Monitoring Methods.

4.6 Summary.

References.

5 SOLID WASTE ISSUES.

5.1 Introduction.

5.2 Industrial Waste Management.

5.3 Municipal Solid Waste Management.

5.4 Hospital Waste Management.

5.5 Nuclear Waste Management.

5.6 Metals.

5.7 Superfund.

5.8 Monitoring Methods.

5.9 Summary.

References.

6 MULTIMEDIA ANALYSIS.

6.1 Introduction.

6.2 Historical Perspective.

6.3 Multimedia Application: A Chemical Plant.

6.4 Multimedia Application: Products and Services.

6.5 Multimedia Application: A Hazardous Waste Incineration Facility.

6.6 Education and Training.

6.7 Summary.

References.

7 HEALTH RISK ASSESSMENT.

7.1 Introduction.

7.2 Health Risk Assessment Evaluation Process.

7.3 Why Use Risk-Based Decision Making?

7.4 Risk-Based Corrective Action Approach.

7.5 Statutory Requirements Involving Environmental Communication.

7.6 Public Perception of Risk.

7.7 Risk Communication.

7.8 Seven Cardinal Rules of Risk Communication.

7.9 Summary.

References.

8 HAZARD RISK ASSESSMENT.

8.1 Introduction.

8.2 Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization of Act of 1986.

8.3 Need For Emergency Response Planning.

8.4 Emergency Planning.

8.5 Hazards Survey.

8.6 Training of Personnel.

8.7 Hazard Risk Assessment Evaluation Process.

8.8 Summary.

References.

9 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS.

9.1 Introduction.

9.2 Air Pollution.

9.3 Water Pollution.

9.4 Solid Waste Pollution.

9.5 Health Concerns.

9.6 Hazard Concerns.

9.7 Summary.

References.

10 FUTURE TRENDS.

10.1 Introduction.

10.2 Air Issues.

10.3 Water Issues.

10.4 Solid Waste Issues.

10.5 Multimedia Concerns and Hazards.

10.6 Health and Hazard Risk Assessment.

10.7 Environmental Ethics.

10.8 Environmental Audits.

10.9 ISO 14000.

10.10 Summary.

References.

NAME INDEX.

SUBJECT INDEX.

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