Nano-enabled Recovery of Scarce Metals: From benchtop to startup

In these days of social distancing, everyday electronic devices such as cell phones and laptops are more crucial than ever. But many of these devices, ubiquitous as they are, contain materials that are difficult to come by, called scarce rare earth and specialty elements (RESEs). For example, audio equipment such as speakers, headphones and microphones, …

Agricultural Pollution in the Chesapeake Bay and What is Being Done About It

A lot is being said these days about pollution in waterways, how to prevent it, and how to clean up pollution that started decades ago. During a summer spent doing scientific research here in Baltimore, I was able to see the effects of pollution on the Chesapeake Bay firsthand. I visited the Inner Harbor in …

Ep 8. How Nanomaterials Can Build Better Bikes

Sustainable Nano Podcast cover image

On this episode of the Sustainable Nano podcast, we talk about one example of how nanotechnology is changing something many people use every day: bikes! Margy Robinson, a graduate student in the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology and a competitive cyclist, explains how carbon nanotubes and graphene are currently being incorporated into some high-end bicycles.

Nanoparticles – 5 Ways These “Little Fighters” Are Making a Big Impact in the War on Terrorism

The term “terrorism” is becoming quite ubiquitous in our everyday lives. It seems that you can hardly watch a news report, browse the internet, listen to a podcast, or tune into your favorite radio station without being made aware of the most recent terrorist attack that has happened here or abroad. The prevalence of these …

Nanomaterials in bicycles???? Part 2

In Tuesday's post, I told you about the impressive properties of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and how they can increase strength and reduce weight in bicycle frames compared to traditional designs. I also told you about the high cost and difficult handling of CNTs that seems to have stymied more widespread adoption of the nanomaterial in bikes. …

Nanomaterials in bicycles???? Part 1

I like bicycles. As a kid, bikes were part of carefree, blue-skied summer days endlessly circling the neighborhood cul-de-sac with friends until the street lamps turned on and our mothers called us inside for dinner. These days I ride bikes to get to and from work, for exercise, for fun, for grad school stress relief, …

Carbon Nanotubes: the Next Generation of Global Water Purification?

My typical day (maybe like yours) involves waking up, taking a 10 minute shower, cooking breakfast, running the dishwasher if it’s full, going to work, eating dinner with a refreshing glass of filtered water, and maybe tackling a load of laundry in the evening. None of these actions feel extravagant, but when I look at …

Carbon Nanotubes as Flame Retardants: Is the Cure worse than the Cold?

According to the US National Fire Protection Association, nearly 20 percent of home fire deaths between 2006 and 2010 occurred in fires where upholstered furniture was the first item to ignite.1 In order to try to prevent this, many materials incorporate a flame retardant: a mixture of chemicals that is added to materials such as …