Nov
19
2013

Nanotechnology could help reduce water pollution from fabric dyes

Blue Jeans closeup.jpg: Blue Jeans closeup
Blue Jeans closeup.jpg: Blue Jeans closeupCourtesy Wikimedia Commons - author: Mark Michaelis

During the textile manufacturing process, excess dyes are sometimes discharged as wastewater resulting in water pollution downstream. In recent years, particular attention has focused on water pollution in China resulting from indigo dyes used to create the distinctive blue color of denim blue jeans.

Some nanoscientists are looking at ways to help remove potentially harmful dyes chemicals from water.

Scientists at Colombia’s Universidad Industrial de Santander and Cornell University have come up with a cheap and simple process using natural fibers embedded with nano particles to quickly remove dye from water.

The research takes advantage of nano-sized cavities found in cellulose; plant fibers can be immersed in a solution of sodium permanganate and then treated with ultrasound causing manganese oxide molecules grow in the tiny cellulose cavities. The treated fibers are able to quickly break down and remove the dye from the water.

More about this topic:

  • Cornell University study on fibers and dyes visit:
    http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/2013/09/treated-fibers-clean-dye-pol...
  • GreenPeace report "Toxic Threads" visit:
    http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/publications/Campaign-reports...
  • Popular Science article on indigo dye and water pollutionvisit:
    http://www.popsci.com/blog-network/techtiles/problem-indigo?src=SOC&dom=fb
  • China's famed Pearl River under denim threat
    http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/asiapcf/04/26/china.denim.water.pollution/
  • To learn more about nanotechnology, science, and engineering, visit:
    www.whatisnano.org

    To see other nano stories on Science Buzz tagged #nano visit:
    http://www.sciencebuzz.org/buzz_tags/nano

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