Water purification using magnetic nanocarbons

Nanocomposite materials combine the beneficial properties of two or more separate constituents to create unique and innovative new materials for a plethora of applications, from energy storage to targeted cancer treatment, aerospace coatings to catalysts.

At the ATI, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) were decorated with iron nanoparticles to create magnetic composite materials. These materials were shown to reversibly absorb organic dyes which provides a basis for applications in wastewater purification and oil spill recovery. Where the contaminant (oil or dye) is adsorbed by the material, which is subsequently removed with a magnet before the contaminant is removed and the material reused. Robust attachment of the iron nanoparticles to the carbon supports are demonstrated with resistance to acid dissolution also being shown through a protective carbon coating. The nanocomposite can be mixed with a polymer and electrospun into aligned nanocomposite fibres to produce a soft magnetic composite (SMC) with future applications in sensors and fast switching solenoids.

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L. McCafferty, V. Stolojan, S.G. King, W. Zhang, S. Haq, S.R.P. Silva. Decoration of Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes with Protected Iron Nanoparticles. Carbon 2015; 84, 47-55. doi:10.1016/j.carbon.2014.11.042

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