Feeds

Aussie scientists develop radioactivity-trapping nanofibers

One gram of fiber cleans a ton of water

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Scientists from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) have developed a new material for cleaning up contaminated water from radioactive leaks and medical processes.

The team mixed titanate nanofiber and nanotubes into a powder that, it says, will clean the radioactive particles in a ton of water with a single gram, provided it’s properly distributed or filtered. The outsides of the nanotubes are coated with silver oxide nanocrystals to hold and fix radioactive iodine ions, even if the material becomes wet again.

"One gram of the nanofibers can effectively purify at least one ton of polluted water," Professor Zhu said in a statement. "This saves large amounts of dangerous water needing to be stored somewhere and also prevents the risk of contaminated products leaking into the soil."

QUT nuclear nanofibers

Professor Zhu makes exceedingly good nuke cleaners

The materials were co-developed with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) and Pennsylvania State University in the US. Zhu said the development would give Australia a leading role in cleaning up both existing nuclear sites, and future ones.

"Australia is one of the largest producers of titania that are the raw materials used for fabricating the absorbents of titanate nanofibres and nanotubes,” he said. “Now with the knowledge to produce the adsorbents, we have the technology to do the cleaning up for the world."

The materials developed by the team would be of limited use in cases like the ongoing nuclear accident in Fukushima, which is now thought to have released up to double the originally reported amount of radioactivity. Given the nature of the accident, dispersal would be a problem, but it would offer a good way to clean and process waste from controlled nuclear processes. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
Cutting cancer rates: Data, models and a happy ending?
How surgery might be making cancer prognoses worse
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Brit balloon bod Bodnar overflies North Pole
B-64 amateur ultralight payload approaching second circumnavigation
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?